Catalog Archive
Auction 197, Lot 298

Complete Set of De Bry's Native Virginians from Part I of Grands Voyages

"[Grands Voyages, Part I] Admiranda Narratio Fida Tamen, de Commodis et Incolarum Ritibus Virginiae, Nuper Admodum ab Anglis...", White/De Bry

Subject: Virginia, Natives

Period: 1608 (circa)


Color: Black & White

9.8 x 14 inches
24.9 x 35.6 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 a disbound chapter of the second Latin edition of Volume I of De Bry's Grands Voyages, near complete but for the absence of the map, Americae Pars, nunc Virginia Dicta, Primum ab Anglis Inventa, Sumtibus Dn. Walteri Raleigh..., the end index, Interpres Lectori (translator to the reader) and the colophon. It includes the complete set of the 22 plates on Virginia Natives, the 5 additional engravings of the indigenous Picts of Great Britain, the title page (dated 1590), the frontispiece of Adam and Eve, the list of plates, and 34 pages of Latin text on Virginia. Each of the plates is captioned with Latin text.

De Bry's volume on Virginia is the most impressive of his collection of voyages. It was the only volume to be printed in English and French in addition to Latin and German. The incredible plates were based on the unpublished watercolors of John White, governor of the Roanoke colony, and illustrate the customs and culture of the indigenous peoples of the region. The fascinating engravings of the Picts attempted to show parallels between the indigenous peoples of medieval Britain and Virginia. The plates depict:

Adam and Eve
II. The English Arrive in Virginia
III. A Weroan, or Chieftain, of Virginia
IIII. One of the Chief Ladies of Secota
V. A Secota Priest
VI. A Young Gentlewoman of Secota
VII. A Chief of Roanoke
VIII. A Noblewoman of Pomeiock
IX. An Old Man in Winter Garb
X. How the Chief Ladies of Dasomonquepeuc Carry their Children
XI. The Sorcerer
XII. How They Build Boats in Virginia
XIII. How They Catch Fish
XIIII. How They Cook Their Fish
XV. How They Boil Meal in Earthenware Pots
XVI. How They Eat
XVII. Praying Around the Fire with Rattles
XVIII. The Dances at Their Great Feasts
XIX. The Town of Pomeiock
XX. The Town of Secota
XXI. The Idol Kiwasa
XXII. The Tomb of the Weroans
XXIII. The Marks of the Chief Men of Virginia
With the plates of Picts showing:
I. The True Picture of a Pict
II. The True Picture of a Pictish Woman
III. The True Picture of a Young Daughter of the Picts
IIII. The True Picture of a Man of the Neighboring Nation to the Picts
V. The True Picture of a Woman of the Neighboring Nation to the Picts

References: Van Groesen (De Bry's America) pp. 50-91.

Condition: B

The text and most of the plates are on moderately toned sheets with light dampstaining that enters into some of the engravings and minor foxing. Much of the text and plates are still loosely bound together, but it appears that the Adam and Eve engraving, plates X, XIII, and XVIII, most of the Pict engravings, and the title page have been pulled from other examples. These other plates are only faintly toned, and some of them have small chips and tears along the edges. The title page is on a sheet with a horn watermark with wormtracks at the bottom of the engraved image, a long tear in the left margin that has been archivally repaired on verso, and a large chip in the right margin that extends into the plate image without loss of image.

Estimate: $4,000 - $4,750

Sold for: $7,000

Closed on 4/24/2024