“Considered the apotheosis of the collection of voyages to the New World”

Early engravings of Present U.S.—Virginia, North Carolina, Florida & California

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1622 Jamestown Massacre in Virginia Colony

 Drake crowned in California and the Drake Plate being planted in background

One of Sir Walter Raleigh’s men being eaten alive on the Orinoco River by a rather strange-looking alligator

Bird’s-eye view of Tenochtitlán (Mexico City)

New engraving by Merian showing Dutch sacking of the Spanish treasure fleet in the Bay of Matanzas in Cuba in 1628

List of the huge amount of booty the Dutch captured from the Spanish treasure fleet

List of the huge amount of booty the Dutch captured from the Spanish treasure fleet

Diabolical method employed in Japan to obtain confession of sin, discussed in the section by Acosta, with the proviso that it is no worse than methods used in Peru

163. GOTTFRIED, Johann Ludwig (compiler & editor) & Matthaeus Merian (publisher, artist & engraver). Newe Welt vnd americanische Historien. Inhaltende Warhafftige vnd vollkommene Beschreibungen aller west-indianischen Landschafften, Insulen, Königreichen vnd Provintzien, Seecusten, fliessenden vnd stehenden Wassern, Port vnd Anländungen, Gebürgen, Thälern, Stätt, Flecken vnd Wohnplätzen, zusampt der Natur vnd Eygenschafft dess Erdrichs, der Lufft, der Mineren vnd Metallen, der brennenden Vulcanen oder Schwefelbergen, der Siedenden vnd anderer heilsamen Quellen, wie auch der Thier, Vögel, Fisch vnd Gewürm in denselben, sampt andern wunderbaren Creaturen vnd Miraculn der Natur, in diesem halben Theil dess Erdkreyses. Dess-gleichen gründlicher Bericht von der innwohner Beschaffenheit, Sitten, Qualitäten, Policey und Götzendienst, Leben vnd Wesen, barbarischer Unwissenheit vnd vnerhörter Grausankeit.... Frankfurt: Bey denen Merianischen Erben, 1655. [6], 1-356, 355-358, 361-661 [2] pp. (text complete; pp. [357-360] misnumbered 355-358, but with correct continuation of text), 3 parts in one volume, paged continuously, copper-engraved allegorical title (Historia antipodum oder Newe Welt...), 5 copper-engraved folded maps and views: [1] Strait of Magellan; [2] Brazil (chart and view); [3] America; [4] Virginia; [5] Olinda and Pernambuco (Brazil, 2 engraved views on one sheet); [see below for details], about 175 half-page engraved text illustrations, views, and maps (one text engraving overprinted, p. 212). Folio (33.4 x 21.6 cm), full modern brown polished calf, covers diapered, decorated and tooled in blind, raised bands, title in gilt on spine, by Aquarius of London. Other than slight browning and occasional staining and a few old repairs, very good.

Engraved Title, Maps & Views


Engraved pictorial title page, within shell at center of image: Newe Welt vnd americanische Historien. Inhaltende warhafftige vnd volkommene Beschreibungen aller west-indianischen Landschafften.... Border to border: 28.8 x 18.5 cm. At top is an allegorical figure of America as a woman with flowing hair, wearing a feathered headdress, cloak, skirt, and jewelry, seated upon the abundant wealth of the New World (flora, fauna, minerals). A Native man and woman stand on each side of the title. Below is a globe showing North and South America, and on each side is a seated Native man. Other Baroque surfeit includes angels (one displaying the Order of the Golden Fleece, and the other holding a crown), clouds, parrot, alligator, shells, fruit, water pouring from a jar, treasure chest, etc.

Maps & Views

[1] [Title in cartouche at top] Fretum Magellanicum und dessen Eigentliche Beschreibung... [key in strapwork border at bottom lettered A to R] Fretum Megellanicum. Border to border: 16.3 x 30.5 cm; overall sheet size: 19 x 31.4 cm. Chart of the Strait of Magellan, showing Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia, decorative elements include four indigenous people at corners (including Patagonian giant), penguin, large snail, compass, compass rose. First appeared in Part 9 of De Bry (1602), relating to the first Dutch circumnavigation by Olivier van Noort, who sailed through the Magellan Strait. Some stains and browning, else very good.

[2] [MERIAN, Matthaeus]. [Inset chart of the coast of Brazil in region of Recife, Perambuco, on trompe-l’œil roll at top] Norder theil des Lands Brasilien. Darinn die fürnemsten Hasen angedeütet werden, als zu Parayba, Pernambuco, Todos os Santos, und andere. Image size: 15 x 32 cm. Bird’s-eye view below with numbered key (Erklärung der Ziffern) depicting the naval battle of the 1630 Dutch attack on the Portuguese colony of Olinda in Perambuco, Brazil. Border to border dimensions of chart and scene: 35 x 44.2 cm; overall sheet size: 39.2 x 45.2 cm. Following p. 94. Hendrik Corneliszoon Lonck, commander of the Dutch fleet, arrived at Pernambuco in February 1630 with a fleet of 67 ships, and by March, Portuguese resistance had ended and the Dutch were masters of the region and actively colonizing. Very light staining to lower blank margin and old repair on verso (not affecting image or border), else very fine.

[3] [MERIAN, Matthaeus]. [Title in cartouche decorated with two skulls and one more within sunburst] America noviter delineata; [inset map in frame border at top, showing North Polar area, with Greenland, northeastern Canada including Davis Strait, Iceland] Borealiores Americæ...; [inset map in frame border at lower left, showing South Polar regions, “Australis Incognita” as part of the presumed Great Southern Continent, Straits of Le Maire and Magellan, part of South America, Cape of Good Hope, etc.] Terra Australis Incognita. Copper-engraved map, border to border:35.2 x 43.8 cm; overall sheet size: 38.6 x 45.4 cm; ornate cartouche with three skulls, ships at sea, whales. Following p. 138. See Burden, The Mapping of America 235n & 251n: “Map of America derived from Jodocus Hondius 1618, but lacking decorative borders.” Burden notes in his entry 192 on Hondius, 1618: “Derived from two maps of Willem Jansz. Blaeu: the large America, 1608, and his separately published one of 1617. It was the Hondius, however, that helped popularise this particular depiction of America, stylised by the inset maps of the two polar regions.” Virginia and Florida are named, as well as North American towns, capes, and islands. One tear at upper left (neat old repair on verso). Except for very minor fraying of lower blank margin, very fine.

[4] SMITH, John (after). Virginia. Copper-engraved map (Virginia, Chesapeake Bay, and surrounding regions), plate mark: 29.5 x 36 cm; neat line to neat line: 28.4 x 36 cm; overall sheet size: 32 x 37.2 cm; [scene at upper left showing interior of hut with Powhatan seated on a raised bench holding a pipe and flanked by two tribesmen, below other tribe members sit around a fire] Powhatan in Solcher Maiestät hat sich der König für dem gefangenen Capitain Schmidt erzeigt und sehen lassen; [below title Virginia at top, English coat of arms]; [top right, Susquehannock tribesman with bow, club, and deer] Sasquesahanougs die Giganten sein also bekleÿdet; [scale below, beneath which is] Erforchet und deschriben durch Capitain Johan Schmidt; [compass rose at lower left]. Huts indicate a major village with a chief’s house, a Maltese cross indicates areas actually explored by John Smith’s expedition, and other areas are said to rely on Native intelligence. This map closely follows John Smith’s original map of Virginia separately published in London in 1612. See Burden, Mapping of America 219n & 164n (latter is entry for the 1612 first printing): “One of the most important printed maps of America ever produced and certainly one of the greatest influence. It became the prototype for the area for half a century [and] accompanied many editions of various publications.... It, therefore, was seen widely and inspired much interest in the fledgling Virginia colony, influencing considerably its eventual success. Consequently the east coast of North America became dominated by the English. To this day the map is still used by archaeologists to locate native Indian villages. It records 166 of them, and is remarkably detailed.” For more on the importance of the map, see Coolie Verner, “Smith’s Virginia and its Derivatives: A Carto-Bibliographical Study of the Diffusion of Geographical Knowledge” (Chapter 4, pp. 135-172 in Tooley’s The Mapping of America). See Prichard & Taliaferro, Degrees of Latitude: Mapping Colonial America 5n, pp. 68-71 (includes a discussion of the controversy of the source of the illustration of the Susquehanna figure on map). John Smith Admiral of New England, was an English soldier, colonizer, explorer, and author. Attribution to Smith has been questioned. Backed with archival tissue consolidating a few minor losses at lower line border and along centerfold.

[5] [MERIAN, Matthaeus]. [Two views on one sheet] [top] Olinda;bird’s-eye view of Olinda from the harbor, key with 14 locations, border to border: 17.4 x 44.8 cm; [bottom] Olinda de Phernambuco...; Dutch fleet attacking the town of Olinda, the island of Antonio Vaz, and surrounding regions, many ships and much smoke; border to border: 17.1 x 44.8 cm. Overall sheet size: 39.5 x 45.3 cm. See notes for Map [2] preceding. Some spotting to image and very light staining at lower blank margin, otherwise very good.

     Second edition of an important compilation on the exploration, conquest, and colonization of the New World, which influenced European perception of America. The compilation was first published at Frankfurt in 1631. This 1655 edition adds new voyages that occurred after the publication date of 1631. It is sometimes stated that the allegorical engraved title did not appear in the 1631 edition, but we note that JCB 1631 copy (and others) have the engraved pictorial title (which includes the date of 1631). Baginksy 175. Berger 204. Borba de Moraes, pp. 311-313: “The copies I have seen of the first edition [1631] seldom contain the same number of plates and maps as the second edition (eight in all). There are usually five or seven. The copy cited by Trömel contained only four, as did the copy listed by Fr. Müller in his catalogue of 1872.... It is obvious that the Newe Welt is an important and magnificent work. It is greatly sought after, expensive, and rare. (Fr. Müller <1872> 636 writes that ‘it is sufficiently well known that good copies are very rare.’“ British Museum, Natural History I, p. 272: “Six maps are wanting.” JCB I (2, 1600-1658), p. 443. Brunet II, cols. 1674-1675. Church 174. European Americana 1655/74 (the issue with “Flecken vnd Wohnplätzen” on title page). Leclerc, Bibliotheca Americana (1867) 662; (1878) 265 (listing “7 cartes et plans: vues d’Olinda, de Pernambuco, de Gibraltar; cartes du détroit de Magellan, de la Virginie, de la partie nord du Brésil, de l’ile de Cuba, America Nouiter delineata”). Palau 646. Sabin 50 (calls for four plates). This work is sometimes erroneously attributed to Johann Phillip Abelin or Philippus Arlanibaeus.

     Michiel van Groesen, “America Abridged: Matthaeus Merian, Johann Ludwig Gottfried, and the Apotheosis of the De Bry Collection of Voyages” in Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 41 (2011), pp. 67-92 [abstract]:

In 1631, Matthaeus Merian and Johann Ludwig Gottfried published a one-volume abridgment of the monumental America series issued by Theodor De Bry and his two sons. Historia Antipodum can be considered the apotheosis of the collection of voyages to the New World. This article argues that the abridgment, rather than the independent publication it is sometimes taken to be, was constructed with the same editorial strategy in mind as earlier De Bry volumes. Heathen beliefs in the western hemisphere were further emphasized, European superiority was visualized more clearly, and the predilection for spectacular images was stronger than ever. In many ways, the modifications Merian and Gottfried made to both texts and illustrations surpassed the changes made for the original volumes of America. In bringing together these representations in a single, affordable volume, Merian and Gottfried prolonged the influence of the De Bry collection and its carefully manipulated representations until well into the eighteenth century.

     The work is divided into three parts, the first of which contains the history, geography, and natural history of the Americas (from Acosta, Oviedo, Herrera, and others). The second part describes thirty voyages to America after Columbus. The third part relates to the recent voyages of European expansion into America, such as Jacob l’Hermite (with descriptions of Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala, Guyana), the expedition to Chile made by Henry Brouwer and Elias Herckman, and others.

     Gottfried’s book is a highly edited abridgement of the first twelve parts of De Bry’s collection of voyages to America (Western Hemisphere), along with a reissue of Part 14, other added material (text, maps, and iconography), some new engravings, and others revised. Many of the engraved illustrations within the text had been previously published in De Bry’s great collection of American voyages. De Bry’s plates on the Western Hemisphere came into the possession of De Bry’s son-in-law, Matthaeus Merian (1593-1650); the plates on the East Indies went to De Bry’s other son-in-law, William Fitzter, English bookseller and publisher. Merian, a highly talented engraver, cartographer, and accomplished artist, became involved with the De Bry firm when he was still in his early twenties. Merian was a key collaborator in the publication of De Bry’s two collections of voyages. After his move to Frankfurt in 1626 and setting up his publishing firm to carry forward publication of De Bry’s Western Hemisphere voyages, Merian acquired the good services of Johann Ludwig Gottfried (ca. 1584-1633), a Reformed minister in Offenbach, with whom he had collaborated on an edition of Ovid’s Metamorphoses published by De Bry.

     Gottfried handled editing and translation, and Merian added copperplate engravings and re-engraved many of the original De Bry plates which were too worn to use. Over a third of the images in the present work are Merian’s, either from his stint with his father-in-law De Bry or his partnership with Gottfried. One of the striking revised images (page 134) shows how the Tupinamba tribe in Brazil were plagued by the devil. The revision is more powerful than the original version and more in keeping with the contemporary Baroque style in art. (See van Groesen, “America Abridged.”) Another example of a newly created image by Merian that emphasizes the exotic is Sir Walter Raleigh and his men in their boats travelling on the Orinoco River through a spectacular, utopian landscape filled with game. The perfection of the scene is shattered by an alligator eating a young man in Raleigh’s company who jumped into the river to swim (page 379).

     Because De Bry had never visited America or any of the other places he described, the images he published were necessarily fanciful to a certain extent, a practice perforce reflected in the present work. Although many of the texts may be authoritative, the images for the most part are not necessarily so and often reflect a European’s idea of what these events and people must have been like. His depictions of New World Natives sometimes fall into the predictable. The texts often make it quite clear that these people are not civilized and in fact do atrocious things, such as practicing cannibalism, worshipping false gods, worshipping no god at all, wearing no clothes, and engaging in barbaric acts of various sorts. As a result both the original work and this derivative are replete with blood, violence, and gore. These new lands and their peoples clearly cry out for the civilizing influence of Europe.

     The sections on Virginia and Florida, however, find the authors on better ground because De Bry had the use of White and Le Moyne’s depictions of the Natives they encountered. Here, the picture is quite different, and the Natives in some ways seem to be at least partly civilized. Little blood or violence is to be found in this section, much less darker things such as cannibalism. Instead, one sees idealized figures posed in Classical style and indeed appearing almost noble. And, of course, all these Natives bear a striking resemblance to Europeans. Yet, all that is only a veneer that any European reader could strip away. These Natives were clearly still engaged in practices that needed to be civilized, according to European ideals. They worshipped false gods, painted their bodies, wore so little clothing that it was scandalous, and believed in the irreligious practices of shamans. Thus, as noble as they were, they were not necessarily good and needed redeeming in the worst way. In fact, one engraving in the present work shows the Natives being tortured by devils while Europeans gaze on calmly from the background (page 134). Some of the more gruesome customs practiced by Amerindians were no worse than what was being practiced at that very time by the “Christians” of the Spanish Inquisition.

     Some of the illustrations in this work are of special interest because they are among earliest illustrations of peoples and places in what is now the United States. Many of the images of Florida are based on the original eye-witness drawings of Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues (ca. 1533-1588), French explorer and artist who in 1564 accompanied René de Laudonnière to Florida. Somehow he escaped the nearly total Spanish massacre of the colony in 1565 and made his way back to France. Moving to London in 1580, he became acquainted with many of the early English colonizers. In 1591 De Bry published Brevis narratio which included forty-two of Le Moyne’s illustrations of Florida and a map. Subsequently Gottfried inherited De Bry’s plates.

     Images of Florida in this work attributed to Le Moyne include a large group of Natives traversing the country lead by three well out-fitted chiefs (page 160). On page 162 is an illustration of how the Natives of the village controlled the large alligators that posed a threat to the village. Someone was always on guard, day and night against the “vicious fiends,” and here several men attack an alligator in the mouth with a hefty pointed log. On page 163 is a scene of celebration in Florida at the inauguration of a new king and queen with onlookers and celebrants. On page 166 is an engraving showing how the Florida natives treat their sick. Shown are a fire in the foreground and a busy scene including a mother with nursing child, two toddlers fighting, a man smoking a pipe while a woman hands him leaves (of tobacco?), a physician examining a patient reclining on a log bed, etc. On page 165 are a European talking with a chief as a ceremony (execution?) proceeds in the background.

     Other Florida illustrations in this work were not included in Le Moyne’s original book, but possibly are from his drawings. De Bry (and subsequently Gottfried) had access to Le Moyne’s original drawings. On page 325 is a map and perspective view of the entrance to Saint Helena, Florida. On page 326 is an illustration of a Native ceremony. The engraving on page 327 depicts a scene at the mouth of St. John’s River (a friendly local chief shows Laudonniere a stone column with French arms left two years earlier by Ribault, and the column is bedecked with flowers and offerings). On page 328 is a depiction of Fort Caroline with a French flag hoisted high (Fort Caroline, five miles up St. John’s River, was the second French colony in the present-day United States, established on June 22, 1564, by Laudonniere and his party as a refuge for the Hugenots in what is now Jacksonville, Florida). The Massacre of Ribault and his party by the Spanish is on page 336, with the Spanish shown with grotesque visages. Page 339 presents a busy battle scene of the Spanish assaulting Fort Caroline.

     The account of the Virginia Colony (North Carolina) includes engravings based on the original art work of John White (ca. 1540-ca. 1593). Walter Raleigh appointed White to help organize a self-sustaining colony in “Virginia” in the Chesapeake Bay. He served as governor of the Roanoke colony and is thought to have been sent to America partially because of his artistic skills. Following is a list of engravings in the present work that can be matched with John White’s original paintings in the British Museum:

Page 168: Nine engravings of Native types: This is an interesting composition combining the separate images painted by White. All these are actual persons he had encountered in the Virginia Colony. White’s images show handsome, noble individuals. All exhibit humanity and individuality lacking in many other stereotyped, negative depictions of Amerindians in this work.

[1] Ein Edel weib in Secota. Woman of the Secotan tribe in North Carolina, standing with crossed arms, wearing a double-apron skirt, hair cut short in front with the remainder long and hanging to the shoulders, with a “wreath” on top.

[2] Edle Iungfraw aus Secota. Young lady of the Secotan tribe, with body language and adornment indicating she is a virgin.

[3] Priester zu Secota. Older man, a priest of Secota, wearing a special rabbit skin cape and other adornment designating priesthood.

[4] Ein edel weib von Pomejooc. Wife of a chief of Pomeiooc (present-day Pamlico Sound, North Carolina) with her young daughter. The mother wears her hair in a topknot and carries a large gourd. Her daughter wears only a slight modesty shield made of soft moss. Both wear jewelry, and the girl holds a European doll and rattle. According to Hariot, dolls and rattles were among “trifles” handed out by the English on their first arrival at Roanoke.

[5] Wie die weiber vō dasamonque peuc ihre kinder dragen. A mother carries her naked child on her back, the image shows how the women of Dasamonque (near the Roanoke colony) carry their children.

[6] Fursten und herrn in Virginia. Princely gentleman of Virginia, an image of a strong older man with headdress with one feather standing. He holds a bow and arrow and wears a fringed deerskin skirt, ear ornament, and necklace.

[7] Ein furnemer burger zu Roanoac. A distinguished male elder of the Roanoke colony, his head mostly shaved in Mohawk style. He stands with folded arms and wears a fringed deerskin skirt and jewelry, such as a metal square hung around his neck. The Roanoke documents mention the coastal Indians’ trade for copper from the interior.

[8] Winterleÿdung eines alten von eiooc Pomejooc. An aged Pomeiooc man wearing a large fringed deerskin mantle reaching to below his knees, thrown over one shoulder and with the other shoulder bare. He wears moccasins without visible fasteners.

[9] Ein zauberer. Conjurer dances with right hand and leg raised, wearing a breech-cloth with animal (fox? otter?) head still attached over his pelvis and a belt holding a tasseled bag. On his head is a bird with wings spread (a stuffed bird was the symbol of some tribes, including the Virginia Colony region). The figure is closely modeled on the classical depiction of Hermes, an example of which is that sculpted by Giovanni da Bologna.

     Other engravings in the Virginia Colony section include Natives constructing a dugout canoe using the charring method (this view is variously attributed to White or Le Moyne). A new engraving added by Merian (page 556) depicts the Jamestown massacre (“an image of unparalleled Indian violence against innocent colonists, accompanied by the assessment of the ‘hypocrisy and perjury’ of the Natives”—see van Groesen, “America Abridged”).

     One of the more fanciful and lovely images (page 193) of North America in this volume shows a voluptuous mermaid welcoming with open arms European explorers to New England (actually Newfoundland, according to Whitbourne). There could hardly be a stronger example of transparent boosterism of the real estate of North America at the time. A few of the images relate to California, and they are in the section on Francis Drake (pages 341-357). Drake was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588 and completed the second circumnavigation of the world (1577-1580). On page 343 Drake is greeted by the Indians of California with his ships in the background (the Indians are stealing his hat!). On page 346 is a busy crowd scene with Drake being crowned at New Albion, California. This is a new plate by Merian, expressing more strongly the idea of European supremacy in America, by means of the addition of elements such as the powerful English Fleet in the background and “Drake’s Plate” being mounted on a post to indicate English ownership (see van Groesen, “America Abridged”). Drake’s fabulously successful raids in America are shown, including a bird’s-eye of San Augustine on page 354 (the first engraved appearance of this view was 1588, which was the first printed plan of a United States city). Two more engravings show the dramatic and successful sea battles of Drake: a bird’s-eye view of the city of Santiago, Cape Verde Islands (page 350); and a bird’s-eye view of Santo Domingo in present Dominican Republic, the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas and first seat of Spanish rule in the New World (page 352).

     Iconography of Latin America and the Caribbean is rich and copious. Mexican images include the classics, such as Moctezuma’s dream (page 65, re-engraved by Merian to emphasize the “Satanic” nature of Aztec beliefs); Cortés’ first encounters and exploits in Mexico; bird’s-eye view of Tenochtitlán (present-day Mexico City); early, atypical peaceful scene of Tenochtitlán illustrating Native American men pole-floating gardens on a raft with maize, squash, birds, and flowers; two views of Acapulco; and many more. Brazil is well represented in the two plates above, along with many text engravings, such as Hans Staden and his account of captivity and cannibalism among the tribes in Brazil. More recent news from Brazil is reported in this second edition. Another view that did not appear in De Bry is the Bay of Matanzas in Cuba (page 623), where Dutch warships achieved great success in 1628 by subduing a rich Spanish treasure fleet. Following the illustration, in the text there is a remarkable and lengthy list of the property the Dutch captured in Cuba, beginning with 30,616 pounds of silver. The enormous treasure was partially invested in subsidizing subsequent raids in Brazil.

     A little footnote to our regional history: Included is a bit of text on the Spanish Southwest (pages 560-565), with material from Herrera (see Wagner, Spanish Southwest 12) on Cibolo, Quivira, New Mexico, Coronado, Espejo, Cabeza de Vaca and the Narváez expedition, the various tribes of our region, etc.


Sold. Hammer: $5,000.00; Price Realized: $6,125.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

Based on John Smith’s famous map

Based on John White’s original eye-witness paintings of Amerindians in Virginia Colony

Early boosterism of North American real estate

St. Augustine, Florida, showing the Drake raid

Magellan, Schouten, Drake, and others are celebrated for their voyages & discoveries

Sir Walter Raleigh in search of El Dorado

Manufacture of sugar, the root of many a battle

Moctezuma’s dream re-engraved by Merian to emphasize the Satanic nature of Aztec beliefs

Natives being tortured by devils while Europeans gaze on calmly—revised by Merian from the De Bry engraving

French ship and flying fish off the coast of Brazil in 1628

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