Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough.Antiquities of Mexico.London, 1831.

Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough. Antiquities of Mexico.London, 1831.

The story of the publication of this magnificent seven volume work is a sad tale. Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough (1795–1837) was introduced by the bibliophile Sir Thomas Phillipps to Bodley's librarian Bulkeley Bandinel, who showed him the great Mexican manuscript the Codex Mendoza in the Bodleian Library.

This determined Kingsborough to devote his life to the study of the antiquities of Mexico. He employed Italian painter Augustine Aglio to visit national and royal libraries throughout Europe in search of Mexican manuscripts, which Aglio then sketched and later lithographed for publication. The costs of this immense venture are said to have been more than £32,000 and were ruinous. In 1837 Kingsborough was arrested in Dublin for a debt to a paper manufacturer, and while in prison he contracted typhus and died a few days later.

The accompanying text for this plate states: Women taken in adultery were put to death by being stoned, as appears by this painting. They were strangled previously to being stoned, and were afterwards thrown into some public place where all might see them.