Auction 162, Lot 749

"[Untitled - Sugar Production in the West Indies]", Bry, Theodore de

Subject: Prints Native American

Period: 1631 (circa)

Publication: Historia Antipodum...

Color: Hand Color

7.8 x 6.3 inches
19.8 x 16 cm

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.

This engraving depicts black slave working on sugar plantations in the West Indies. The Spanish found sugar to be a profitable venture because sugar cane grew quickly with little maintenance required. The engraving shows the various steps in the process of harvesting sugar. First the slaves would cut the sugar cane stalks, remove the leaves, and then crush the cane to extract the juice. Then the pulp was boiled in a large bronze cauldron to create concentrated syrup, which was poured into large earthenware pots for transportation. On a sheet of German text that measures 9 x 13.5".


Condition: B+

An excellent impression with very light toning.

Estimate: $200 - $230

Sold for: $150

Closed on 4/26/2017