HARIOT, Thomas; [and John WHITE]. - Theodor DE BRY and Johann Theodor DE BRY
[Hariot's Virginia.] Admiranda narratio fida tamen, de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae, ... Anglico scripta sermone a Thoma Hariot.
Frankfurt: Theodor De Bry, 1590. Folio. (13 1/2 x 9 3/4 inches). Engraved title to text, letterpress title to plates, engraved arms on dedication leaf, colophon leaf F6, blank D6. 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" and with traces or early hand-colouring), 27 engraved plates after John White.
Expertly bound to style in early limp vellum. Housed in a black morocco backed box.
A fine copy of the De Bry first edition in Latin of Hariot's Virginia: the first eyewitness pictorial record of the American southeast and the first illustrated account wholly dedicated to any portion of what is now the United States.
The publication of this work by De Bry launched what would later become known as his Grand Voyages. It is without question the most important of the series both in terms of contemporary influence and modern historical and ethnographic value. The text describes the first British colony to be established in the New World and is here united by De Bry with engravings based on watercolours by John White, a member of the expedition. This work offered the first accurate accounts and eyewitness depictions of native Americans.
In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh received a ten-year charter to establish the first permanent English settlement in Virginia and over the course of the next five years four expeditions landed at Roanoke for that purpose. The second of those expeditions included mathematician and navigator Thomas Hariot and artist and later colonial governor John White. Upon his return to London, Hariot would privately publish in 1588 A Brief and True Account of the New Found Land of Virginia (extant in only 6 known copies) which detailed the explorations and discoveries during the 1585 expedition. The following year Hakluyt would include the text in his seminal Principall Navigations .
In 1589, master engraver and publisher Theodor De Bry traveled to London where he met Hakluyt, who told him of the British expeditions to Virginia and shared with him both Hariot's journal and White's watercolours from the expedition. Hakluyt suggested the publication of a series of illustrated voyages to America, beginning with Hariot/White. De Bry returned to Frankfurt and in 1590 published the work in Latin and German.
John White's illustrations are among the most famous of early American images. White was the lieutenant-governor of the abortive colony, and a skilled artist. His carefully executed watercolours are remarkably accurate renderings of the Carolina Indians and their customs, costumes, rituals, hunting practices and dwellings. No other artist so carefully rendered American Indians until Karl Bodmer worked on the Missouri in the 1830s. The engravings after White are the best pictorial record of American Indians before the 19th century, while the important map within the work is the first detailed depiction of the Virginia coast and Carolina capes, showing the coast from the mouth of the Chesapeake to Wilmington, North Carolina.
Arents 37; Church 140; Cumming & De Vorsey 12; European Americana 590/31; JCB I:396; Sabin 8784; Vail 7 (note).