[009] ‘Americae Retectio’

Here revealed is the Western Hemisphere, with Flora for Florence on one side and Janus for Genoa on the other. Above are medallion portraits of both Columbus and Vespucci, believed at the time to be the founding fathers of the discovery of America. Below Neptune is supporting the globe and the landmass showing the north-west coast of Italy and the city of Florence to the right. The engraving in contre-épreuve is based on one by Stradanus and Collaert, published nine years earlier (ref. 56).

Introductory Plate 2 (14.1×19.3), from Part IV(g), published 1594 with German of Latin text: $350 view print

[002] Portrait of Columbus

‘Gentle reader …’, wrote de Bry, ‘The king and queen of Spain commissioned a leading artist of the day to paint a portrait of Columbus so there would be some memory of him if he failed to return. I recently obtained the original of this portrait and, so that you could see it, I have had it etched in bronze by my son and offer it to you now.’

(There still are in existence about 80 early portraits of Columbus but these are all thought to have been painted posthumously. If, therefore, de Bry’s claim is true, this engraving, beautifully framed with flora and fauna from the New World, perhaps resembled the great explorer more closely than all others.)

Introductory plate (15.6×12.8), from Part V(g), first published in 1595 with German and Latin text: $450 view print

[011] Columbus’s Egg

Columbus is seen here in the centre, seated among his Spanish companions. He asked who could make an egg stand on end so, after they all had tried and agreed it was a physical impossibility, he proceed to flatten the end by lightly tapping it on his plate before standing it upright.

(This simple trick originally may have been attributed to Brunelleschi who, by the same token, was believed to have used it to demonstrate that the great dome of Florence Cathedral, which he himself designed, was not after all a physical impossibility.)

Plate 7 (16.2×20.1), from Part IV(g), first published 1594 with German or Latin text: $100 view print

[003] Columbus departs on his first voyage

On August 3, 1492 Columbus set sail from Huelva in southern Spain, in search of a route to the Indies by sailing west. By sunrise his three heavily laden little ships had already crossed the river bar and were on their way to changing the course of history. (Although Columbus is seen here waving good-by to Ferdinand and Isabella, the king and queen of Spain, they were not in fact present at his departure.)

Plate 8 (16.1×19.6), from Part IV(g), first published in 1594 with German or Latin text: $350 view print

[008] Columbus crossing the Atlantic

Columbus is seen here on the foredeck of his ship, with a quadrant for navigation in one hand and a sword for danger in the other. Guiding him across the mysteries of the sea towards the Americas are Hercules, carrying a lily as the symbol of peace and Mars, the god of war on a turtle, drawn by four lions. Neptune and other symbolic figures decorate the sea area.

(In the engraving published in 1585 by Stradanus and Collaert (ref.56), from which this was derived, the figure on the ship was not originally Columbus but Amerigo Vespucci.)

Introductory plate (14.2×19.8), ‘Ad Lectorem’, from Part IV(g), first published in 1594 with German or Latin text: $450 view print

[004] Flying fish and dolphins

Flying fish rose out of the sea and flew above the water for a hundred yards or so at about the height of a long spear. Sometimes they hit the ship’s mast and, when they fell on deck were easily caught. They were like herrings but longer and rounder, with small feathers under their throats and wings. Nowhere were they safe; under the water they were pursued by albacore and above, they were caught by seabirds. There were other strange fish too; one had a beak like a goose and another had a hole on top of its head for breathing and taking in water. When the sea was rough they came to the surface and the sailors knew a storm was brewing.

Page 151 (16.6×19.9) from Part III(g), first published in 1592, with Latin text, and on page 103 in 1593 with German text; also Plate 2, from Part IV(g), first published in 1594 with German or Latin text: $150 view print

[005] Flying fish

Sailors encountered flying fish while voyaging between the Cape Verde Islands and St. Vincent in the West Indies. They were said to be similar to herrings but somewhat longer and rounder and had wings like a bat. They could fly between 100 and 200 paces until their wings dried out, then they would drop back into the sea. Nowhere were they safe: in the air they were easy prey to birds and, in the water they were pursued by larger fish.

Page 60 (16.4×19.7), from Part XIV(g) first published in 1627 with German text and from Part XIII(g) with Latin text: $175 view print

[252] Pizarro is granted permission to conquer Peru

Pizarro sailed to Spain in 1528 and appealed to the king to grant him permission to conquer Peru. With him he brought gold and silver as evidence of its potential wealth. On 26 July 1529, a royal agreement was signed in which Pizarro was made governor of all the territory, up to 200 leagues south of Guayaquil. Almagro was made commander of Tumbes, while the priest, de Luque, was made Bishop of Tumbez. This engraving shows Pizarro, appealing to the dignitaries in the royal court and symbolically in the background, spoils being loaded aboard ship.

Plate 3 (15.6×19.3), from Part VI(g), first published in 1596, with Latin text and 1597 with German text: $125 view print

[010] Map: ‘Americae Sive Novus Orbis’

This map is based on the Western Hemisphere half of the Plancius world map, first published in 1594, with a few minor alterations to the geography and nomenclature. De Bry did not make any attempt to incorporate the geography of his earlier maps, particularly the Virginia [144] or Florida Map [098], both of which are cartographically important. He did, however, replace the decorative background to the Plancius world map with full-length portraits of who were thought at the time to be the key figures involved in the discovery and exploration of the Americas. Each of these is set against a maritime background in the four corners and shows: ‘Christophorus Columbus, Genuensis 1492’, ‘Americus Vesputus, Florentinus 1497’, ‘1519 Magellanus’ and ‘1526 Franciscus Pisard’, viz. Columbus, Vespucci, Magellan and Pizarro.

Map (32.7×39.7), from Part VI(g), published in 1596 with Latin text, and in 1597 with German text. Also from Part XII(g), published in 1623 with German text and 1624 with Latin text: N/A view print

[012] Departure of Benzoni from Sanlúcar

This illustrates the departure for the New World of Girolamo Benzoni in 1541 from the port of Sanlúcar in southern Spain. He spent fourteen years travelling in the West Indies, Central and South America and, in 1565 after his return, published his experiences in ‘La Historia del Mondo Nuevo’. This book (ref. 3) formed the basis for many of the illustrations in de Bry’s publications, Parts IV, V & VI from the Grands Voyages. The harbour scene is not accurate but represents Benzoni’s departure, which was typical of many other Europeans’ departures for the New World in the sixteenth century.

Plate 1 (16.3×20.0) from Part IV(g), first published in 1594 with German or Latin text: $100 view print

[013] Departure of Hans Staden from Lisbon

This harbour scene serves to illustrate the departure of Hans Staden from Lisbon. In 1547 he set sail aboard a ship, under Captain Pintado’s command, bound for Brazil. Miraculously he escaped death and returned to Europe where, in 1557 he published his horrifying experiences among the Tupinamba Indians in ‘Warhaftig historia …’ (ref. 55). De Bry subsequently used the text of this work to illustrate some of Part III.

Pages 1, 102 & 146, with Latin text, or pages 1 & 97, with German text, from Part III(g), first published with Latin text in 1592, or with German text in 1593: $100 view print

[316] The strange tree that rained in the Canary Islands

There was a legend that, in times of drought, a large tree at the top of a mountain on Hierro in the Canaries, rained water. Because it so rarely rained on this island, water was in short supply so the natives used to climb up the mountain to catch water from the tree in earthenware pots. In fact, the clouds probably caused precipitation on the leaves and the water that dripped from them gave the impression that the tree itself was actually raining.

Plate 28 (15.9×19.0), from Part VI(g), first published in 1596 with Latin text, and in 1597 with German text. ‘This same illustration also appeared in the ‘Petits Voyages’ as Plate 1 from Part IX(p), first published in 1612 with both German and Latin text.: $250view print

[015] The English attack Praia in the Cape Verde Islands

On 16 November, 1585, during Francis Drake’s round-the-world voyage, his fleet anchored off Santiago (here called St. Jacob), near Praia in the Cape Verde Islands. A thousand men landed further along the coast and, under the command of Lieutenant-General Carleill, marched over mountain and through dale to attack Santiago. They easily took the town and the Spanish garrison fled. Since they found little of value, they burnt the town before continuing their voyage to the West Indies.

Plate 6 with Latin text, or Ad. Plate 6 with German text (15.3×21.2), from Part VIII(g), first published in 1599: $150 view print

[018] The Dutch attack the fortress at Praia

On 27th June 1589, Simon de Cordes left Holland with five ships, bound for the Magellan Straits. On reaching Santiago, one of the Cape Verde Islands, they decided to loot the fortress at Praia. This stood on top of a high rock, whose only approach was by a narrow stairway with 175 steps. At the time the fortress was occupied by the Portuguese under a Spanish commander. On landing, however, the Dutch were entertained by some of the Portuguese on the beach, while the others hid all the valuables. Later, when the Dutch took over the fortress, they found nothing of value.

Plate 15 (14.8×18.8), from Part IX(g), first published in 1601 with German text, and in 1602 with Latin text: $100 view print

[019] The Dutch are invited to visit the harbour at Santiago

While at Paria the Dutch were invited to visit the harbour about two miles along the coast. On arrival, they found it fortified with ramparts along the sea front and the Portuguese soldiers clad in armour, well armed with cannons, waiting for them at the water’s edge. However, on seeing how well guarded the harbour was, the Dutch decided it would be prudent to avoid serious loss at such an early stage of their voyage, and continued on their way without confrontation.
Plate 16 (14.0×17.9), from Part IX(g), first published in 1601 with German text, and in 1602 with Latin text: $100 view print

[020] The Dutch reach Brava

After leaving Santiago, the Dutch sailed to the island of Brava in the south-west of the Cape Verde Archipelago. On arrival, the Dutch shouted to the Portuguese on shore that they had come to buy provisions. But the Portuguese said they had none and disappeared. When they went ashore the Dutch found all the huts empty but one, where they found a store of corn which they loaded aboard their ships.

Plate 17 (14.7×18.6), from Part IX(g), first published in 1601 with German text, and in 1602 with Latin text: $100view print

[291] An introduction to the Dutch voyage of 1598

This title page shows the five ships that set off from Rotterdam in June 1598, with the aim of finding a new route to the Moluccas under the command of Simon de Cordes. They entered the Straits of Magellan in April of the following year but the ships became separated in a storm and after four months they returned home.

2nd Title Page (90.0×15.7), from Part IX(g), first published in 1601 with German text and in 1602 with Latin text: $150

[319] A picture of the Grand Canary island

This shows the Island of Grand Canary and how it was occupied by the Dutch. A: is the town Allagona, B: its two fortresses, C: the great fortress Gratiosa, D: Spanish ships, E: the Dutch armada, F: the Dutch boats bringing their men to shore, G: seven groups of flag bearing Spanish soldiers with whom the Dutch fought, H: the Spanish with their cannon behind the hill, who fought bravely, I: the siege of the town, K: the mountain from where the Spanish did much harm to the Dutch with their firing, L: the mountains into which the Spanish fled, and finally, M: a ship in which the ‘Gravine’ of Lanzerotte fled.

Ad. Plate 13 (12.3×22.0), from Part VIII(g), first published in 1600 with German text. $175view print

[320] How the Dutch seized the island of Grand Canary

As soon as the Dutch armada had anchored near the island, their soldiers rowed ashore ready to attack. The Spanish, with their seven groups of soldiers, each carrying a flag, fought bravely to defend themselves with muskets. The Dutch were forced to leave their boats and wade towards them, fighting fiercely. The Spanish were defeated at last and fled towards the town, carrying their leader, who had been badly shot in the leg, with them. The Dutch then besieged the town with ease, also taking over the great fortress Gratiosa, from whom the Spanish had previously fired cannons, causing damage to the Dutch ships.

Ad. Plate 14 (14.1×21.0), from Part VIII(g), first published in 1600 with German text. $175 view print

[321] The Dutch withdraw from the island of Grand Canary

After the Dutch had taken the town of Allagona, with its fortress, into their power and made use of everything they found there, they retreated to their ships with all their booty and the most distinguished citizens as captives. Before they left, they set fire to the churches and monasteries, while the fortresses and the great Gratiosa were simply blown up.

Ad. Plate 15 (14.3×20.4), from Part VIII(g), first published in 1600 with German text. $175 view print

[022] Weert wines and dines with the chief

Captain Weert and the chief ate modestly on roast plantain, smoked fish and wine fermented from palm, bought by a local woman. However, when Weert ordered Spanish wine to be brought from his ship, the chief forgot his temperance and drank so much he had to be carried to rest. Weert had to stay the night but returned to his ship in the morning. On the way back he was confronted by an ugly , naked woman carrying ashes in a box. After circling him three times and muttering incoherently, while tapping the box, she sprinkled the ash on him and left. On 8th December, 1598, the Dutch fleet departed.

Plate 19 (14.7×18.8), from Part IX(g), first published in 1601 with German text and in 1602 with Latin text: $100 view print

[016] The introduction to Ralegh’s voyage to Guiana

In 1595 Ralegh set out from England with five ships for, what he later described in his book as, ‘The Discoverie of the Large, Rich, and Bewtiful Empire of Guiana …’ (ref.44). Below the title is a miniature map of the Atlantic, called ‘Mar del Nort’, with the landmasses of the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ worlds on either side. In the Guiana region, not named, is marked ‘Manoa’ – a mythical city where el Dorado, or the Golden One, was believed to have lived.

Title Page 1 (9.1×14.1) with German text, or Page 3 (2nd sequence) with Latin text, from Part VIII(g), first published in 1599: $450 view print

[621] Spilbergen fleet departs from the town of Veere in Zealand

This is a true likeness of the town of Veere in Zealand, whose port and harbour of ships belong to Dutch prince, Maurice of Nassau, who referred to himself as Margrave. The three ship shown here were loaded with provisions by Simon Pardvin, the retired major of the town of Mittelburg and treasurer of Zealand, also by tradesmen, Balthasas Moucheron and Peter van Hecken. The three ships were called the ‘Sheep’, the ‘Ram’ and the ‘Lamb’ and their admiral was named Jörg van Spilbergen, who made several voyages from this place.

Plate 1 (13.6×17.1), from Part VII(p), first published in 1605 with German text and in 1606 with Latin text: $150view print

[622] The Admiral Spilbergen’s experiences at Port Daele and Refrisco

After reaching the Cape Verde islands, the Admiral sailed in the smallest of his vessels to Port Daele but three Portuguese caravels anchored in the harbour started firing at him and he had to defend himself by shooting back. Spilbergen hit one of the Portuguese ships and the other two came to it’s assistance, then all three attacked the Dutch, so they were forced to flee. When they arrived at Refrisco they were attacked by several Negroes in canoes and driven towards Port Daele. There the Admiral was wounded in both hands, captured and, before being let free, robbed of all his clothes and belongings.

Plate 2 (13.6×17.2), from Part VII(p), first published in 1605 with German text and in 1606 with Latin text: $150view print

[169] John Smith is caught by the French

In 1615, during one of John Smith’s voyages across the Atlantic, he was caught by some French pirates. While at sea in captivity he was forced to suffer great hardships but one night, during a storm in the Bay of Biscay when the crew were forced below deck, he managed to escape in a rowing boat. All night he was tossed about by the waves with only a pike to help him steer. The small boat was eventually driven ashore on the island of Charente where some bird-catchers found him almost dead from cold and hunger. He gave them the boat in exchange for the means to La Rochelle.

Plate 12 (14.7×17.4), from Part X(g), first published in 1618 with German text and in 1619 with Latin text: $250view print

[312] L’Hermite’s fleet moors in the Solent for repairs

In March 1623 a heavily armed fleet of 11 ships, under the command of Jacob l’Hermite, sailed from Holland with the ambitious hope of ‘destroying the Spanish in America’. By the time they reached the English Channel, one of the ships began leaking. Here, the admiral is seen coming ashore at Cowes on the Isle of Wight for repairs and being greeted by the governor of the castle there. Soon after setting sail again they were becalmed and had to anchor for a while off the Needles.

Page 8 (14.4×19.5), from Part XIV(g), first published in 1630 with German text, also Page 87 from Part XIII, first published in 1634 with Latin text: $250 view print

[517] Plan of the harbour and Island of Angra in the Açores

This birds-eye view of the harbour, town and fortifications at Angra in the Açores, shows van Linschoten’s fleet on their way to the East Indies.

Map 2 (39.0×55.0), from Part III(p), first published in 1599, with German text and in 1601 with Latin text: $650