Object Record

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Collection Art-2D Collection
Catalog Number 2010.25.12
Object Name Print
Description "The Englishmen's Arrival in Virginia," c. 1590, hand-colored engraving by Theodor de Bry based on a watercolor painting by John White. De Bry's engravings were published in Frankfurt in his series, "Grand Voyages." Volume I (1590) paired de Bry's engravings with a reissue of "A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia," written in 1588 by Thomas Harriot, who accompanied John White and approximately 600 colonists to Roanoke in 1585. Harriot's description of his year at Roanoke, was intended to serve, in part, as a justification for further colonizing efforts.

This print has a hand-drawn map of the coast of Virginia with two large sailing ships, five partially sunken ships along the shoreline, and a sea creature in the water to the left. A smaller shipped, manned by the English, has passed through a gap to approach Native Americans on a small island. The man at the front of the boat is holding a crucifix out in front of him as they approach.

English translation of German text:


Because of the many islands on the seacoast of Virginia it was difficult to discover an entry to the mainland. We found a number of large river mouths, yet, they proved to be so shallow and full of dangerous sandbanks that we could not follow them up into the interior. Before we came upon an entrance we made many attempts at different places and had sailed only a short way when we reached a broad river that descended in waterfalls into the sound opposite the islands. The shallows prevented us from going far up this stream; for the mouth of the river was choked with the sands that the tide drove in. Sailing farther, we reached a large island.

As soon as the inhabitants of this island caught sight of us, they set up a loud and terrible outcry, as if they had never before seen men dressed as we were, and they ran off screaming like beasts and yelling like madmen. But we called them gently back and offered them presents such as glass, knives, dolls and other trifles which we thought would please them. Convinced of our good intentions and kindness, they slowly approached and made us welcome. They took us to their island village, called Roanoke, and to their Weroans, or chiefs, who entertained us courteously in spite of their astonishment at our appearance. Thus we reached the part of the world called Virginia.

On the following pages I will give you an exact account of the inhabitants of this country, their manners and customs, their dress, and their way of living.
Title The Englishmen's Arrival in Virginia
Date c. 1590
Role of Creator Engraver
Creator Bry, Theodor de
Role of Creator 2 Copy After
Creator 2 White, John
Medium ink
Material paper
Technique engraving
Dimensions H-12.25 W-8.75 inches
Place of Origin Europe/Germany/Frankfurt
Subjects Explorers
Expeditions & surveys
Relation Show Related Records...