Catalog Archive
Auction 164, Lot 773

Part V of De Bry's Grands Voyages, with 1 Map and 22 Plates

"Americae Pars Quinta, Nobilis & Admiratione Plena...", Bry, Theodore de

Subject: Exploration & Surveys, Western Hemisphere

Period: 1595 (published)


Color: Black & White

10.4 x 14.8 inches
26.4 x 37.6 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.

This is the first Latin edition of Part V of de Bry's Grands Voyages, chronicling the second part of Girolamo Benzoni's history of the world. Part V includes a map of Mexico, 22 plates of Natives, two title pages, a portrait of Christopher Columbus, and 92 pages of text. The map is Hispaniae Novae Sive Magnae, Recens et Vera Descriptio (17.3 x 13"), which is a particularly interesting version of Ortelius' map of Mexico that was the prototype map of the region. It covers the Pacific coast from present-day Acapulco to about Mazatlan and inland to Mexico City, which is situated on a large lake. It is densely engraved with place names and shows the mining districts northwest of Mexico City. The map is elaborately decorated with engravings of Native Americans, bison, canoes, ships and two fabulous cartouches.

The plates feature Natives and their encounters with Europeans in Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, and include:
1. Black slaves mining gold
2. Black slaves work the sugar plantations
3. Spanish cruelty of the black slaves
4. Black slaves escape punishment
5. The Spanish capture a French ship
6. The French defeat the Spanish at Havana
7. Chorera in Cuba is burnt by the French
8. Cartagena is destroyed by the French
9. The French try to land at Cubagua off the coast of Venezuela
10. A typical Indian market at Cartagena
11. How the Indians of Colombia prepared for war
12. Indian hospitality in the Darien
13. Gutierrez searches for gold in Costa Rica
14. The Indian caciques are invited to a meal
15. The Indian caciques are held for ransom
16. The Spanish are attacked by the Indians in Costa Rica
17. Ferdinand de Soto in Florida
18. Alvarado's greed in Mexico City
19. Francisco de Montejo in the Yucatan
20. A conflict of cultures in Nicaragua
21. Dancing in Nicaragua
22. Alvarado dies at Guadalajara

The text and plates are disbound, with the last three plates now loose, and plate 2 has been replaced with an example from the second Latin edition. Housed in a handsome clamshell case with navy blue cloth, red title labels with gilt titling on front cover and spine, and velvet interior.


Condition: B+

Overall light toning, minor soiling, and light scattered foxing primarily along the edges. The map has a dark impression with light toning, a minor printer's crease at bottom center, and several minor misfolds.

Estimate: $3,500 - $4,500

Sold for: $3,000

Closed on 9/13/2017