Lot 84
  • 84

Hariot, Thomas, [and John White] — Theodor De Bry and Johann Theodor De Bry

50,000 - 70,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • [Hariot's Virginia] Admiranda narratio fida tamen, de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae ... Frankfurt: Typis Johannis Wecheli, Sumtibus vero Johannis-Theodori de Bry, '1590' [but circa 1608]
  • paper, ink, leather
Folio (13 1/4 x 9 in.; 335 x 228 mm). Engraved allegorical title to text with overslips in Latin, letterpress title to plates, engraved arms on dedication leaf. 1 double-page engraved map of Virginia [Burden 76, state 2], 1 engraved plate of Adam and Eve (first state with inscription "Iodocus a Winghe in /   / Theodore de Bry fe", 27 engraved plates after John White with blank D6 but without the final blank F6 (as in Church); various small neat expert repairs to corners, few tiny closed edge tears;  three leaves misbound. Expertly bound to style in 18th-century blue/green morocco, covers with gilt roll tool border, the flat spine divided into six compartments with gilt roll tools and fillets, lettered in the second compartment, the others tooled with alternating neo-classical tools, 18th-century marbled endpapers. A lovely copy.


Cf. Arents 37; cf. Church 143-144;  Cumming & de Vorsey 12; cf. European Americana 590/7; JCB I:396;  cf. Sabin 8784; Vail 7 (note).

Catalogue Note

Second edition, second issue of a foundation work on the early exploration and delineation of America and an important first hand account of the abortive Roanoke colony, the first settlement attempt by the British in the New World 

This volume was the first issued by the publisher, Theodor De Bry, in his extraordinary series, "Grand Voyages," which set out to describe the exploration of the New World. This copy includes a variant title: Church does not mention an issue of the title with letterpress slips pasted in position, but the engraved surround corresponds most closely to Church's third issue.

 Thomas Hariot's text, describing the country of Virginia and North Carolina, was first published in London in 1588 (only six copies are known) and here republished in Latin.  Hariot, like the artist, John White, was part of the Roanoke expedition and wrote his account from actual observation.  It is the first description of the Virginia and Carolina country.  The map which accompanies the volume is the first considerably accurate map of the Virginia coast and Carolina capes, showing the coast from the mouth of the Chesapeake to Wilmington, North Carolina.

John White's illustrations are among the most famous of early American images.  White was the lieutenant-governor of the colony, and a skilled artist.  His carefully executed watercolors, gleaned from close observation and remarkably accurate renderings of the Carolina Indians and their customs, costumes, rituals, hunting practices and dwellings, are here expertly engraved by De Bry.  No other artist so-carefully rendered American Indians until Karl Bodmer worked on the Missouri in the 1830s. Besides these illustrations, there are plates showing White's conception of the ancient Picts of Scotland, to whom he wished to compare the American natives.