Catalog Archive
Auction 190, Lot 487

"Nova Zembla", Le Clerc, Jean

Subject: Novaya Zemlya, Russia

Period: 1730 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

12.3 x 8.8 inches
31.2 x 22.4 cm
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These images of Novaya Zemlya are based on the diary of Gerrit de Veer, a Dutch officer on Willem Barentsz' second and third voyages (1595 and 1596) in search of a Northeast passage. The first vignette shows a man being mauled by a polar bear, while a fellow shipmate takes aim at the bear with a rifle. The second shows a group of men cutting open a polar bear, with another polar bear advancing toward armed men protecting their small building. The third vignette depicts a galleon shipwrecked on the ice, and the final image shows the crew trying to recover their goods from the trapped ship. De Veer published an account of Barentsz' three voyages based on his own diary as well as notes made by Barentsz himself, who did not survive the journey home. De Veer's account, Waerachtighe Beschryvinghe van Drie Seylagien, was published by Cornelis Claesz in 1605, with translations in Latin, French, German, and English published shortly thereafter. The plates in Waerachtighe Beschryvinghe van Drie Seylagien depicted how the men survived in the harsh Arctic environment as well as some of the first images of polar bears available. These images were copied and used in travel accounts published through the early 18th century by Johann Theodore de Bry, Levinus Hulsius, Jean Le Clerc, and others.


Condition: B+

Issued folding on a sheet with a jester watermark, very light toning, scattered foxing, and a dampstain along the right edge of the sheet, well away from the image.

Estimate: $140 - $170

Sold for: $90

Closed on 11/16/2022