John White Drawings/Theodor De Bry engravings

The staff of Virtual Jamestown is pleased to bring online the watercolor drawings of John White and the corresponding engravings of Theodor De Bry. Under a licensing agreement with the British Museum for the White drawings, we are able to make available these images for the first time on the World Wide Web. Regardless of the status of teachers, students, and the general public, whether situated for example in the remote hollows of Appalachia or near the citadels of learning and preservation at Harvard University, the British Public Record Office, or the Library of Congress, anyone with access to a computer and the Internet can now enjoy these rare treasures of our national history. Limitations of licensing, funding, and technology prevent us from a larger number and more detailed resolutions. Nevertheless, users will still be able to appreciate the proud Algonquians who not only helped the English survive but build a nation and bequeath to us the opportunity in 2007 to meditate on the costs and celebrate the gifts of inclusion and diversity.
In 1585 White, an artist and cartographer, accompanied the voyage from England to the Outer Banks of North Carolina under a plan of Sir Walter Raleigh to settle "Virginia." White was at Roanoke Island for about thirteen months before returning to England for more supplies. During this period he made a series of over seventy watercolor drawings of indigenous people, plants, and animals. The purpose of his drawings was to give those back home an accurate idea of the inhabitants and environment in the New World. Despite their extraordinary significance, the watercolors were not published until the twentieth century. In 1590, Theodor De Bry made engravings from White's drawings to be printed in Thomas Hariot's account of the journey. Hariot, a mathematician, had also been part of the 1585 voyage. In his engravings, De Bry took certain liberties with White's images, and including them together here gives students and teachers everywhere the opportunity to use this material as a pedagogical resource on English views of native people. Additionally, linked to the images are the detailed and learned annotations of Paul Hulton and David Beers Quinn from The American Drawings of John White 1577-1590, courtesy The University of North Carolina Press.
Index of White Watercolors and De Bry Engravings