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The collection of 33 La Tauromaquia prints, to be offered at Sotheby’s Prints & Multiples sale in London on April 4, carries an estimate of £300,000-500,000.

The prints were discovered when heirs to French property the Château de Montigny found a 19th-century ledger in the library.

Pristine Set

The book also contained 90 French military lithograph prints, bearing the signature H. Bellangé. A few pages on, the complete pristine set of the first edition of Francisco Goya’s La Tauromaquia etchings were discovered.

Séverine Nackers, head of prints at Sotheby’s Europe, said: “To find a complete set of Goya’s bullfighting prints with such historically significant provenance is a once-in-a-lifetime discovery. With La Tauromaquia currently holding the auction record for a series of prints by Goya, we’re expecting an enthusiastic response from collectors.”

The prints are virtually flawless examples of the first and only contemporary edition that was printed for Goya from large copperplates etched and aquatinted by him in 1815-1816.

The set of prints was advertised for sale in 1816. They were purchased and taken to the Château de Montigny in France in 1831 where they remained until this year.