Lot 3128
  • 3128

De Bry, Theodor (1528-1598).

50,000 - 70,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Great Voyages. [Frankfurt and Oppenheim, 1590-1634]

parts I-XIII in 2 volumes, Latin edition, folio (342 x 235mm.), illustration: engraved and printed titles, maps, plates and illustrations (see below), binding: contemporary mottled calf, spine gilt in compartments, title on spine "Historia americae", some occasional discoloration (mainly text, but more so in volume 2), folding maps and plates slightly creased (see below), binding rubbed


Nicolas-Joseph Foucault (1643-1721), armorial bookplate


Church 140, 145, 148, 153, 156, 159, 162, 166, 168 170, 172, 173, 174

Catalogue Note

a fine set of the most famous and influential of all collections of voyages and “the cornerstone of every library of americana… lavishly illustrated and replete with maps” (Boies Penrose).

The late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries saw the publication of many important compilations of early voyages. Theodor de Bry's Collectiones peregrinationum in Indiam orientalium et Indiam occidentalem, issued between 1590 and 1634, was a monumental undertaking of two series - the "Great Voyages" which relate to North and South America, and the "Small Voyages" which relate to the East Indies and Africa. Although the plan was to publish all parts in Latin, German, English, and French, only the first part of the "Great Voyages" was ever published in this four language format. All other parts were issued in German and Latin only. This set is the entire Latin edition complete in thirteen volumes.

Flemish engraver, printseller and bookseller, De Bry, while in England (c. 1586-1589) met the English geographer Richard Hakluyt, with whose assistance he collected material for this finely illustrated collection of accounts and voyages. From 1590 until his death in 1598 De Bry published Parts 1 to 6 of the Great Voyages and after his death the series was continued by his widow and two sons Johann Theodor and Johann Israel who published the seventh, eighth and ninth parts. After a period of time, the work was finally completed by another member of the family, Matthäus Merian in 1634 (the last of the fourteen parts in German by 1630 and the Latin thirteenth and final part in 1634).

In this set a copy of Piso's Historia naturalis Brasiliae is bound between parts 3 and 4 (see below), otherwise the contents are as follows:

Part 1. Admiranda narratio fida tamen, de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae [Thomas Hariot’s voyages to Virginia, 1585]. Frankfurt: Johann Wechel, 1590, 34, [4], [2], [4], [2], [2], [2], [8], illustration: engraved title, engraved arms on dedication, folding engraved map of Virginia (state 1), Adam and Eve plate and 27 plates and illustrations in the text, small hole in dedication (just obscuring a letter), some creasing
Part 2. Brevis narratio forum quae in Florida Americae provi[n]cia…/ Indorum Floridam [French expeditions to Florida under René de Laudonnière and Jacques le Moyne 1584]. Frankfurt: Johann Wechel, 1591, 2 parts, [2], [2], 30, [2], [2]; [28], illustration: engraved titles, engraved arms on dedication, folding engraved map of Florida, 43 plates and illustrations in the text, lacking one blank, map creased
Part 3. Americae tertia pars memorabile[m] provinciae Brasiliae historiam [Johann von Staden’s Voyages to Brasil, 1546-1555]; Navigatio in Brasiliam Americae [Jean de Léry’s Voyage to Brasil, 1556-1558]. Frankfurt: Sigmund Feyrabend, 1592, 2 parts, [6], [8], 134; 137-296, [16], illustration: engraved title to part I (printed title to part II), engraved arms on dedication, engraved armorial plate, folding engraved map of South America, 45 illustrations in the text, map shaved at right-hand margin, small tear at fold
Part 4. America pars quarta [Benzoni’s History of the New World]. Frankfurt: Joannes Feyrabend, 1594, 2 parts, [4], 145, [3]; [3], illustration: engraved titles to both parts, engraved armorial plate, double-page engraved map of the Caribbean, 26 engraved illustrations in the text, map creased
Part 5. Americae pars quinta [Benzoni’s History of the world continued]. Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry, 1595, 2 parts, [2], 82 (wrongly numbered 92), [4]; [2], illustration: engraved titles to both parts, engraved portrait of Columbus within text, double-page folding map of New Spain, 22 engraved illustrations in the text, map shaved at 2 margins and creased

Volume 2
Part 6. Americae pars sexta [Benzoni’s History of the New World continued]. Oppenheim: Hieronymus Galler, 1617, second edition, first issue, 2 parts, 78 (including engraved title), [2]; [2], [2], illustration: additional engraved title “Historia America… 1634” to part 1 (printed title to part II), folding engraved map of the Americas, folding engraved view of Cusco, 28 engraved illustrations in the text, small tear in general map and view creased, some browning to text
Part 7. Americae pars VII [Gotthard Artus’ History of the Indies]. [Frankfurt, 1625], second edition, 35, [1]pp., illustration: printed title within engraved border, 4 engraved illustrations in the text, discoloration to text
Part 8. Americae pars VIII [Voyages of Sir Francis Drake, Thomas Cavendish and Sir Walter Ralegh]. Frankfurt: Erasmus Kaemfer, 1625, second edition, first issue, 127, [1]pp., illustration: printed title with engraved miniature twin-hemispherical world map, folding engraved map of Guiana, 20 engraved illustrations in the text (including 2 miniature maps)
Part 9. Historiae antipodum sive Novi Orbis [America nona et postrema pars] [José de Acosta’s History of the New World; Voyages of Sebald de Weert, 1598; and Olivier van Noort’s Voyage through the straits of Magellan to the Moluccas, 1598]. Frankfurt: Matthaeus Merian, 1633, second edition, 5 parts, [2], 362; 56; [2]; 100; [2], illustration: part 1 printed title within engraved border, parts 2-4 printed titles with engraved vignettes (the latter a portrait of Olivier van Noort), 39 engraved illustrations in the text, without full-page engraved map of the Straits of Magellan, text browned
Part 10. Americae pars decima [The Voyages of Amerigo Vespucci, 1497-1499; Ralph Hamor’s Account of Virginia; and Captain John Smith’s Description of Virginia, 1616]. Oppenheim: Hieronymus Galler, 1619, 72pp., illustration: printed title with engraved vignette, 2  double-page engraved maps of Virginia by Merian and De Bry, a few pages with worming affecting lower margin (pages 10-34)
Part 11. Americae pars undecima [The circumnavigations of Willem Corneliszoon Chouten, 1615-1617 and of Joris van Spilbergen 1614-1618]. Oppenheim: Hieronymus Galler, 1619, 4 parts, 49, [1]; [2]; 34; [2]pp., illustration: printed titles, part 1 with miniature engraved twin-hemispherical world map, part 3 with engraved vignette, double-page map of the South Pacific and New Guinea, 29 illustrations in the text, including 2 miniature maps
Part 12. Novi orbis duodecima [Antonio Herrera’s History of the New World]. Frankfurt: Heirs of Johann Theodor de Bry, 1624, [4]pp., ff.1-73, [1]pp., illustration: additional printed title with engraved border (incorporating a miniature map of the Americas purporting to show California as an island), printed title with woodcut device, double-page engraved map of the Americas by Merian, 14 numbered maps interleaved and 2 unnumbered of New Guinea and the Magellan Straits
Part 13. Decima tertia pars historiae Americanae [The discovery and settlement of New England, Virginia, etc.; Jacque l’Hermite’s Circumnavigation; Piet Heind’s exploits against the Spanish; Hendrik Corneli Loncq’s Brazil]. Frankfurt: Matthaeus Merian, 1634, [2], 149, [1]pp., illustration: printed title within engraved border, 4 double-page or folding engraved maps of the Silver Fleet off Cuba, Guiana, Virginia, and Americas after Hondius, additional folding plate “Olinda”, 21 engraved maps and illustrations in the text

[bound between parts 3 and 4] Piso, Gulielmus and Georgius Marcgravius. Historia naturalis Brasiliae. Leiden & Amsterdam, 1648, [10], 293, [7]pp., illustration: numerous woodcuts in text

Piso, who was sent out by the Dutch West-India Company in the company of Marcgraf, as leader of a scientific exhibition, was the first to distinguish between the diseases of yaws and syphilis. He also introduced the drug ipecacuanha to Europe as a specific for the treatment of amoebic dysentery. Margraf’s contribution to the work is a description of some 301 plans and 367 animals native to Brazil, an achievement unsurpassed and not superseded until the works of Spix, Martius and Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied were published in the nineteenth century.