DE BRY, Johann Theodor, and Johann ISRAEL
[The Petit Voyages, Parts I - X]
Frankfurt: 1598-1613. 10 parts in three volumes, small folio. Collations below. (A few plates shaved along the foredge).
Contemporary calf, the covers ruled and tooled in gilt, spines gilt with raised bands and gilt morocco labels (some wear to covers). Bookplates on front pastedowns, an occasional blindstamp (see below)
Provenance: Earls of Macclesfield
The fine Macclesfield set of De Bry's 'Petit Voyages' in a contemporary binding. This work is essential to any serious collection of travel books.
A complete set of the first ten parts of the first Latin edition of the Petit Voyages of De Bry, one of the grandest collections of voyages published in the Age of Discovery, with all of the hundreds of maps and plates, as detailed below. This series of voyages, devoted mainly (but not entirely) to the East Indies, was issued concurrently with the same publishers' Grand Voyages , which are primarily devoted to the Americas. The present set is without Part XI and XII (the latter so rare that even Church lacked much of the text), and the appendix to Part I, also a legendary rarity. Both of these parts were issued by a different publisher in 1625 and 1628, long after the rest of the series. Almost all sets lack some plates and maps, and assembling complete copies has been a passion of collectors since the beginning of the collecting of voyages in the early 19th century. A number of the maps and plates are also highly prized individually, which has contributed to parts being disassembled.
The Petit Voyages comprise probably the greatest single collection of material on early voyages to the East Indies, and are unique in their extraordinary wealth of cartographical and visual material on Africa, India, the Spice Islands, and South Asia. The De Brys' intention as publishers to present an illustrated record sets them apart from other, textual voyage collections such as Ramusio or Hakluyt. Their works are a cornerstone of any serious library of travels and voyages.
The collations of the parts in the present set agree with those given in Church for the first Latin editions of each part, with parts III and IX being the second issues of the first edition. Full titles and bibliographical details can be found in Church. A summary of the parts and their contents follow:
Part I, Vera Descriptio Regni Africani, 1598. First edition. Fourteen plates and two maps (on three sheets). Fillipo Pigafetta's description of the Congo, describing Odoardo Lopez' voyage there in 1578, probably the most important early description of central Africa. Church 205.
Part II, Pars Indiae Orientalis, in qua Johan. Hugonis Linscotani navagatio in Orientem, 1599. First edition. Thirty-nine plates, three maps, and portrait of Linschoten at the head of the preface. Linschoten's famous voyages to the East of 1583-92 were published by De Bry the year after they first appeared as a separate book. Church 207.
Part III, Tertia Pars Indiae Orientalis ..., 1601. First edition, second issue, without the map of Nova Zembla on the verso of plate 58. Sixty plates and three maps. In this copy the plates are bound before the text. The large folding map, "Descriptio Hydrographica," shows the eastern hemisphere and the routes to the east around Africa. This is a highly important piece of cartography. The rest of Linschoten, Cornelius de Houtman's pioneering voyage to the East Indies of 1595-97 (instrumental in opening the spice trade to the Dutch), and Gerit de Veer's voyage in search of a northeast passage in 1594-96, are included. The plates show scenes in the East, as well as Veer's tragic experiences in Spitzbergen, where his expedition was attacked by polar bears. Church 209.
Part IV, Pars Quarta Indiae Orientalis... , 1601. First edition. Twenty-one plates (image in plate 20 printed upside down). Linschoten and Houtman's voyages concluded, and the voyage of Jacob von Neck and Wybrandt van Warwijck to the East Indies in 1598-99. As in the two previous parts, most of the plates are scenes in the East Indies. Church 211.
Part V, Quinta Pars Indiae Orientalis..., 1601. Sole edition, first issue.Twenty plates. More material on Von Neck, and the establishment of Dutch power in Bantam. Church 212.
Part VI, Indiae Orientalis Pars VI.. ., 1604. Sole edition, first issue. Twenty-six plates. Pieter de Maree's description of Guinea in 1600, and other early voyages to Guinea by the Portuguese, Dutch, and French. This whole section therefore relates to the Gold and Slave coasts of Africa and the growing European trading presence there, which laid the foundation for the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Church 213.
Part VII, Indiae Orientalis Pars Septima. .., 1606. Sole edition, first issue. Twenty-two plates. Joris von Spilbergen's voyage to Ceylon in 1601-4, and Gasparo Balbi's voyage to Pegu via Syria, in 1579-88. This part is mainly devoted to India and Ceylon, with excellent plates of the latter. Church 216.
Part VIII, Indiae Orientalis Pars Octava.. , 1607. Sole edition, first issue. Eighteen plates. A collection of five Dutch voyages to the East Indies, 1600-6, including trips to China and the Spice Islands, all illustrating the rising Dutch power in the East. The plates show various military encounters, and a famous double-page plate of Macao. Note that in this copy plate 13, a double-page plate, is bound in between plates 11 and 12, i.e. on the verso of plate 11 and on the conjoined leaf. Church 218.
Part IX, Indiae Orientalis Pars Nona... , 1612. First edition, second issue. Seventeen plates. A world map appears on the supplementary title to the extra plates section. This part describes the voyage of Admiral Pieter Willemsz to the Spice Islands to seize them from the Portuguese, written by one of the officers on the expedition. Church 221.
Part X, Indiae Orientalis Pars X.. ., 1613. First edition. Three plates and three maps. This part is important on several accounts. The first section gives one of the first published accounts of Hudson Bay, describing the explorations of Henry Hudson. The most important of these is the map showing Henry Hudson's explorations, which was first published the year before by Hessel Gerritsz in Amsterdam. It is the first map of Hudson Bay and the adjacent country, and is present here in a slightly reduced version of Gerritsz's map, with the name of the island "Frisland" clearly engraved (see Burden). The double-page map shows Hudson's Bay in the west, and stretches all the way east to include Ireland and Iceland. Befitting Hudson's extensive explorations, the coast line of Hudson Bay is quite detailed and accurate, place names are noted, and islands in the bay are shown. Hudson did make mistakes, however, in his charting of the southern part of the bay in a rectangular shape. "This map serves as the foundation piece to Canada's basic economic history. It served as the only functional chart to the northern regions of Canada for several decades, and enabled the successful establishment of the Hudson Bay Company which was to dominate trade, exploration and the economic development of Canada for a long time" - Kershaw. The second section of Part X of De Bry describes other voyages to the North by Linschoten, while the third section relates to De Quiros and his supposed discovery of a new continent, "Terra Australis Incognita." The other two maps relate to a search for a Northeast passage. Church 222.
A rare opportunity to acquire one of the great monuments of early travel literature.
Church as cited above. For the Hudson map: Burden 162; Kershaw Early Printed Maps of Canada 53b & pp.55-58; Schwartz & Ehrenberg p.94; Verner & Stuart-Stubbs, The Northpart of America, 29.