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De Bry's engravings of Native Americans were based on original drawings made by John White (fl. 1585-1593). White had traveled to the Americas in 1585-1586 with Sir Walter Raleigh's expedition to what is now North Carolina, and made another journey in 1587. In the production of his drawings, he worked closely with Thomas Hariot (1560-1621), an English mathematician and cartographer (his originals are now at The British Library in London). De Bry made White's drawings the standard for most seventeenth-century depictions of Native Americans by copying them for use in his Grands voyages, of which Hariot's Virginia was the first part. Published in 1590 in Frankfurt-am-Main, in Latin, German, and French -- and with a special English edition dedicated to Raleigh -- they were seen throughout Europe. White transmuted his observations of Native American life into poses borrowed from antique sources: a kind of metamorphosis not simply Ovidian in nature. White's own observations took on a similarly iconic status for nearly a century.
Thomas Hariot, 1560-1621. Admiranda narratio fida tamen, de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae: nuper admodum ab Anglis, qui Dn. Richardo Greinvile equestris ordinis viro e in coloniam anno M.D.LXXXV. deducti sunt inuentae, sumtus faciente Dn. VValtero Raleigh equestris ordinis viro fodinaru[m] stanni praefecto ex auctoritate serenissimae reginae Angliae / Anglico scripta sermone Thoma Hariot, eiusdem Walteri domestico, in eam coloniam misso vt regionis situm diligenter obseruaret; nunc autem primum latio donata C.C.A. . . . Briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia. Francoforti ad Moenum: Typis Ioannis Wecheli, sumtibus vero Theodor de Bry: Venales reperiuntur in officina Sigismundi Feirabendi, MDXC [1590]. Dechert fF229.H27.1590.