Auction 178, Lot 81

"[A Strange Creature at St. John's Harbour]", Bry, Theodore de

Subject: St. John's Harbor, Canada

Period: 1627 (circa)

Publication: Grands Voyages, Part XIII

Color: Black & White

6.9 x 5.8 inches
17.5 x 14.7 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 is a fantastic scene depicting Captain Whitbourne in Newfoundland (1610), where he observed strange creatures swimming in St. John's harbor. In his account Whitbourne concludes: " … whether it was a mermaid or not, I do not know, I leave it for others to judge." The scene depicted here leaves no doubt. On a sheet of German text measuring 8.6 x 12.7".


Condition: B+

A dark impression with light toning and foxing.

Estimate: $240 - $300

Sold for: $180

Closed on 6/10/2020