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Library buys old Bohemian manuscript in London auction

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Prague, Oct 3 (CTK) – The Czech National Library (NK) has bought a handwritten prayer book from 1655 that belonged to a daughter of a Prague councillor, at a London auction for an equivalent of 148,000 crowns, its spokeswoman Irena Manakova told CTK on Tuesday.

The rare artifact was put up for auction by the Dreweatts and Bloomsbury Auctions house.

The book is decorated by illuminated coats of arms of the Karbans of Volsany and the Kechells of Hollenstein burgher families to which its owner, young Anna Katerina Karbanova, belonged.

Apart from being a prayer book, it also served as an album, containing verses written for Anna Katerina by her friends and step children.

Anna Katerina’s father Lukas Karban, a councillor of the New Town of Prague, was sentenced to death for his participation in the Czech estates’ rebellion against the Habsburg dynasty, and his sentence was later changed to life imprisonment.

Finally, he was released from prison, but his property was partly confiscated and he was forced to leave Bohemia. He moved to Freiberg, Saxony, with his family.

Anna Katerina was probably born in exile to Karban’s second wife, Johanna Kechell of Hollenstein.

In 1659, she married a double widower and became the step mother of his six children. Three of her sons made entries in her prayer book to express their gratitude and love of her.

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