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kim sloan, joyce e. chaplin, a new world: england’s first view of america, british museum press, 2007, 256 p.
This beautiful book reproduces in full the famous and rarely seen British Museum collection of drawings and watercolours made by John White, who in 1585 accompanied a group of English settlers sent by Sir Walter Raleigh to found a colony in Virginia, along the tidewaters of coastal North Carolina. Whites duties included making visual records of everything 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 his watercolours of Florida and Brazilian Indians, and the Inuit encountered by Martin Frobisher. In this landmark catalogue, each work is reproduced in colour and is thoroughly described, supplemented by engravings by Theodor de Bry and other comparable works. The introduction is followed by three specially commissioned chapters covering John White himself, the indigenous inhabitants, and their historical context. The book explores White’s role as a colonist, surveyor and artist who not only recorded the plants and animals but also provided a window on a now lost Native American culture and way of life.
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