A DRAWING by Raphael from the private collection of the Duke of Devonshire is expected to fetch up to £15 million at auction next month.
The Renaissance master created the black chalk study in 1519/20 as preparation for one of his greatest works, the Transfiguration, which hangs in The Vatican Museum in Rome.
It was acquired by William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire, in the late 17th or early 18th century and has been part of the Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth House ever since.
The Duke will offer the drawing at Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Old Master Paintings and Drawings in London on December 5.
It is estimated to fetch £10m to £15m.
Sotheby’s described the sale as ‘an auction event of enormous significance’ and only the third time in 50 years a Raphael drawing of similar importance has appeared on the market.
The Devonshire Collection will retain 14 other Raphael drawings.
The Duke said: “We are very fortunate that the Devonshire collection has such extraordinary depth in so many areas.
“The sale of these works which our family has long cared for will now benefit the long-term future of Chatsworth and its collections.”
Two 15th century illuminated manuscripts from the collection will also be offered for sale.
One is valued at £4m to £6m and the other at £3m to £5m.