Catalog Archive
Auction 101, Lot 485

"[Set of 5 Portraits]", Bry, Theodore de

Subject: Exploration

Period: 1590 (circa)


Color: Black & White

6 x 9 inches
15.2 x 22.9 cm
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This copper engraving is from a remarkable series of publications, illustrating voyages of discovery and travels of exploration to various parts of the world. The project was begun by Theodore de Bry of Frankfurt, in 1590 and was to continue for another 54 years. They became known collectively as the Grands Voyages (to America and the West Indies) and the Petits Voyages (to the Orient and the East Indies). De Bry died after the first six parts of the Grands Voyages were completed. The project was completed initially by his widow and two sons, Johann Theodore de Bry and Johann Israel de Bry, then by his son-in-law, Matthaus Merian in 1644.

These five engravings are among the most interesting of de Bry's views. They were included at the end of the Virginia volume and are engraved after drawings by John White. While they appear to depict Virginia natives, they in fact show Picts and Ancient Britions, nearly naked, splendidly tattooed, and sporting weapons. The purpose of their inclusion was to show De Bry's European audience that "the Inhabitants of the great Bretainne have bin in times past as sauvage as those of Virginia." - quite possibly a very politically incorrect comparison! German text below.


Condition: B

Images very good, some minor loss in text from a previous framing. Two backed with Japanese tissue. Couple with brown ink page numbers.

Estimate: $700 - $800

Sold for: $550

Closed on 12/4/2002