Drawing by Raphael for sale at Sotheby's

One of the most significant drawings by Italian master Raphael in private hands is up for auction in London.

"Head of an Apostle" is expected to fetch between 10 million pounds and 15 million pounds ($16 million and $24 million) at Sotheby's on Dec. 5.

The drawing was created in preparation for Raphael's Biblical painting "The Transfiguration," which hangs in the Vatican Museum in Rome.

Sotheby's Old Master expert Cristiana Romalli said it revealed Raphael, who died in 1520, "as very possibly the greatest master of drawing who has ever lived."

The sale of items from Chatsworth House - ancestral home of the Dukes of Devonshire - also includes two 15th-century illustrated manuscripts. The current duke said the sale would help preserve the future of the family's large art collection.