Fine Books and Manuscripts

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View full screen - View 1 of Lot 77. [Bry, Theodor de] — Thomas Hariot | With some of the most famous of early American images.

From the Library of Clayre and Jay Michael Haft

[Bry, Theodor de] — Thomas Hariot | With some of the most famous of early American images

Lot Closed

December 16, 08:17 PM GMT


20,000 - 30,000 USD

Lot Details


From the Library of Clayre and Jay Michael Haft

[Bry, Theodor de] — Thomas Hariot

[The Great Voyages, Part I, in Latin:] Admiranda Narratio Fida Tamen, de Commodis et Incolarum Ritibus Virginiae. [Frankfort: Wecheli, ca. 1608]

Folio (325 x 221 mm). 34 pages including engraved title page, [2], xxiii, v, [3] printed leaves. Folding map “Americae pars, Nunc Virginia”; 28 plates: the 16 half-sheet plates formerly mounted when issued now bound-in before their associated text leaves (see below), the fourth and fifth Picts portraits trimmed and tipped in, text of plate XIII with lower blank margin renewed, modern notes in blue ink on index at end, partially effaced from washing but still visible. Remboîtage contemporary calf, large central gilt escutcheons, gilt cornerpieces, a semé of flowers; minor wear, recased and with restoration, endpapers renewed.

Second Latin edition, third issue. In this issue there is no imprint at the foot of the engraved title-page, and when issued the following plates were printed separately, trimmed and mounted: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 21, and 23—they are here unmounted and bound in before the associated text leaves. This issue is also without errata and the tail-piece at the end of the index is the same as that opposite the plate of the Picts, No. V.

This volume was the issued as the first part of Theodor de Bry's extraordinary "Great Voyages," which sought to describe the exploration of the New World. Sabin notes that this esteemed first part is "the rarest volume of that series" (30377): contemporary auction records support this assertion. Thomas Hariot's text, the first description of Virginia and North Carolina, was first published in London in 1588 (only six copies are known) and is here republished in Latin. Hariot, like the artist, John White, was part of the Roanoke expedition and wrote his account from direct observation. 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; it has been called "one of the most significant cartographical milestones in colonial North American history, [and] the most accurate map drawn in the sixteenth century of any part of that continent" (Burden 76).

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 Native Americans' customs, attire, rituals, and dwellings, are here expertly engraved by de Bry. No other artist so-carefully rendered Native Americans until Karl Bodmer worked on the Missouri in the 1830s. In addition to these illustrations, there are plates showing White's conception of the ancient Picts of Scotland, to whom he wished to compare the American natives.


Alden & Landis/European Americana 608/78 (variant issue); Burden 76 (second state) and 77; Church 144; Cumming/Southeast in Early Maps 12, 13, plate 14; Sabin 8784, 30377