In 1588, Thomas Harriot published A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, an engaging account of the area and inhabitants around the first British settlement in North America, established in 1585 on Roanoke Island, off the coast of what is now North Carolina. In 1590, an illustrated edition appeared, including 28 engravings by the Flemish artist Theodor de Bry (1528-1598), working from watercolors made by John White, a member of the expedition. Published in four languages and widely distributed, this book and its images gave Europeans their first (and lasting) impressions of Native Americans and some of their customs. This exhibition presents over 40 examples of these compelling engravings, some hand-colored and from various editions of the book. Also included are engraved portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh (sponsors of the expedition) and a self-portrait by de Bry, as well as early maps.
These prints are intended gifts to the Ackland from the collection of Michael N. Joyner, AB ’77. The exhibition will be enhanced by loans of related material from two rich repositories at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Library (printed materials), and the North Carolina Archaeological Collections in the Research Laboratories of Archaeology (Native American artifacts, such as cooking pots, from cultures close in time, place, or lifeway to the indigenous groups encountered by the Roanoke settlers, thereby counterbalancing de Bry’s Eurocentric, outsider’s viewpoint).