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This enthralling engraving is from Theodor De Bry’s significant historical work Grands Voyages. This from the first edition, Latin issue with this particular engraving being published in Frankfurt between 1590 and 1592 for de Bry by Sigismund Feyerabend. Grands Voyages is considered one of the most remarkable collections of voyages published in the Age of Discovery.
Theodor de Bry (1528-1598) was a prominent Flemish engraver and publisher. He came from a family of jewelers and engravers, and faced persecution for his Lutheran faith during the Spanish Inquisition. De Bry would be most known for his engravings of the New World from Grands Voyages, a work which would reach 30 volumes in scope. He was inspired to create this work after meeting Richard Hakluyt in 1587, who had published his own collection of voyages. Hakluyt helped de Bry obtain paintings from the New World as well as giving him a copy of Hariot’s Virginia. Many of the original paintings of America were done by Jacques Le Moynes de Morgues and John White then transferred to copper plates by de Bry.
De Bry’s landmark work depicted the early voyages and settlements in the Americas. His work greatly influenced the European view of the Americas for a long period of time. De Bry’s prints provide an important contemporary view of European conquest and settlement in early America. The images depict native customs, culture and warfare, and episodes in the history of European contact with these natives and their world. As Michael Alexander said, De Bry’s work “brought to the European public the first realistic visualization of the exotic world opened up across the Atlantic by the explorers, conquerors and settlers.” (Discovering the New World, p. 7)
Provenance: Dr. Otto Leopold Schmidt, Illinois State Historical Society President (bookplate); Dr. Hans Heinrich Reese, German Olympian, American spy during WWII; University of Wisconsin professor (inscription on front free endpaper)