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This beautifully illustrated book reproduces in full the famous and rarely seen British Museum collection of drawings and watercolors made by John White, who in 1585 accompanied a group of English settlers sent by Sir Walter Raleigh to found a colony on Roanoke Island, North Carolina. White's duties included making visual records of everything he encountered that was then unknown in England, including plants, animals, and birds, as well as the human inhabitants, especially their dress, weapons, tools, and ceremonies. The collection also includes White's watercolors of Florida and Brazilian Indians and of the Inuit encountered by Martin Frobisher. Here each work is reproduced in color and supplemented by engravings by Theodor de Bry and other comparable works.
Kim Sloan's introduction sets the scene, followed by chapters placing John White and his work in their historical, cultural, and artistic contexts. Joyce Chaplin explores how White's contemporaries viewed his work and Christian Feest assesses its accuracy as historical documentation. Ute Kuhlemann examines the role of de Bry, White's Frankfurt publisher and engraver. The book explores John White's role as a colonist, surveyor, and artist who not only recorded plants and animals but also provided Elizabethan England with its first glimpse of a now-lost American Indian culture and way of life.