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Ascension by Th. de Bry 1598-1613

Theodore de Bry (1528 – 1598) and his family.

Theodore de Bry was born in 1528 in the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, in the southern Netherlands (today Belgium). Trained as a goldsmith in his father's workshop, he left his home town around 1558 and moved to Strasbourg. Religious motives partly inspired his emigration, but commercial incentives were probably more important for de Bry since Strasbourg was more attractive. Here he gradually began to shift his focus to copper engraving. In the early 1560s, Theodore married Strasbourg-born Katharina Esslinger, and the couple went on to have four children together before Katharina died c. 1569. Johan Theodore (b. 1563) and Johan Israel (b. 1565) later followed in their father's footsteps and took up his trade. He remarried in 1570 to Katharina Rölinger.
In 1577, after the Pacification of Gent had quietened religious tensions in the Netherlands, Theodore and his family moved to Antwerp. There they lived close to the printing house of Christopher Plantin, and it was there that Theodore began making copper engravings. Copper engraving was a well-developed art in the Low Countries, and Antwerp artists were in great demand. In 1584, when Catholic troops besieged Antwerp, Theodore and his family moved to London, where he made copper engravings for an important English navigation manual, The Mariners Mirrour. It was also there that he found the inspiration to produce the collection to which his name would forever be attached.
He met the artist Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, a draughtsman who had been to Florida in the 1560s as part of a French expedition. He returned to Europe with watercolours of the natural world he had seen and the indigenous peoples. After Le Moyne's death, thanks to the mediation of Richard Hakluyt, Theodore acquired these drawings.
Hakluyt and de Bry began collaborating on a series of books about America. In 1588, the de Bry family moved to Frankfurt, and there Theodore published the first volume of the America series. This first volume was the only one in the whole collection which appeared in four different languages: German, Latin, French and English. The following volumes appeared only in German and Latin. As a result, the relationship between de Bry and his English partners quickly soured.
Theodore continued publishing and produced a blend of richly illustrated prestigious volumes of the voyages collection, which was the family firm's flagship publication.

Theodore de Bry died on March 27th 1598. At this time, the highly successful and lucrative America series extended already to seven volumes, and there were going to be a total of fourteen. To these must be added the 'Elenchus', published in 1634 by Merian, which was a collective title and table of contents of these same volumes.

In 1597, the de Bry brothers published the first volume of the East India series. These were also published in folio but in a slightly smaller page size than the America volumes. In order to distinguish the East India series from his America series, the two parallel sets subsequently became known among bibliophiles as de Bry’s Petits Voyages and his Grands Voyages, respectively.
The Petits Voyages consist of thirteen volumes, published between 1597 and 1633.

After Theodore de Bry's death, the business was first run by his son, Johann Theodore and then by his grandson, Matthäus Merian and grandson-in-law, William Fitzer. Precisely what part de Bry's widow and his other son played in the business is unclear, but they certainly seemed to have retained some interest. After all, it must have become a very profitable venture for the whole family. Together, they continued to publish volumes of the Grands and Petits Voyages for another 46 years. The last volume, a third edition of Part IV of the America series, finally appeared in 1644.

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Vera Effigies et Delineatio Insulae, Ascenstio Nuncupatae Sitae in Altitudine 8 Graduum ...

€450  ($526.5 / £382.5)
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Item Number:  20732
Category:  Antique maps > Oceans

Old, antique view on Ascension by Theodore de Bry.

With a fleet of Portuguese ships and embellished with illustrations of sea life, a compass rose and two elaborate cartouches.

Date of this map: 1598-1613

Copper engraving, printed on paper.
Size (not including margins): 15 x 22cm (5.9 x 8.6 inches)
Verso: Blank
Condition: A few stains.
Condition Rating: A

From: Indiae Orientalis Navigationes. Frankfurt, 1598-1613. (Small Voyages).

Theodore de Bry (1528 – 1598) and his family.

Theodore de Bry was born in 1528 in the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, in the southern Netherlands (today Belgium). Trained as a goldsmith in his father's workshop, he left his home town around 1558 and moved to Strasbourg. Religious motives partly inspired his emigration, but commercial incentives were probably more important for de Bry since Strasbourg was more attractive. Here he gradually began to shift his focus to copper engraving. In the early 1560s, Theodore married Strasbourg-born Katharina Esslinger, and the couple went on to have four children together before Katharina died c. 1569. Johan Theodore (b. 1563) and Johan Israel (b. 1565) later followed in their father's footsteps and took up his trade. He remarried in 1570 to Katharina Rölinger.
In 1577, after the Pacification of Gent had quietened religious tensions in the Netherlands, Theodore and his family moved to Antwerp. There they lived close to the printing house of Christopher Plantin, and it was there that Theodore began making copper engravings. Copper engraving was a well-developed art in the Low Countries, and Antwerp artists were in great demand. In 1584, when Catholic troops besieged Antwerp, Theodore and his family moved to London, where he made copper engravings for an important English navigation manual, The Mariners Mirrour. It was also there that he found the inspiration to produce the collection to which his name would forever be attached.
He met the artist Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, a draughtsman who had been to Florida in the 1560s as part of a French expedition. He returned to Europe with watercolours of the natural world he had seen and the indigenous peoples. After Le Moyne's death, thanks to the mediation of Richard Hakluyt, Theodore acquired these drawings.
Hakluyt and de Bry began collaborating on a series of books about America. In 1588, the de Bry family moved to Frankfurt, and there Theodore published the first volume of the America series. This first volume was the only one in the whole collection which appeared in four different languages: German, Latin, French and English. The following volumes appeared only in German and Latin. As a result, the relationship between de Bry and his English partners quickly soured.
Theodore continued publishing and produced a blend of richly illustrated prestigious volumes of the voyages collection, which was the family firm's flagship publication.

Theodore de Bry died on March 27th 1598. At this time, the highly successful and lucrative America series extended already to seven volumes, and there were going to be a total of fourteen. To these must be added the 'Elenchus', published in 1634 by Merian, which was a collective title and table of contents of these same volumes.

In 1597, the de Bry brothers published the first volume of the East India series. These were also published in folio but in a slightly smaller page size than the America volumes. In order to distinguish the East India series from his America series, the two parallel sets subsequently became known among bibliophiles as de Bry’s Petits Voyages and his Grands Voyages, respectively.
The Petits Voyages consist of thirteen volumes, published between 1597 and 1633.

After Theodore de Bry's death, the business was first run by his son, Johann Theodore and then by his grandson, Matthäus Merian and grandson-in-law, William Fitzer. Precisely what part de Bry's widow and his other son played in the business is unclear, but they certainly seemed to have retained some interest. After all, it must have become a very profitable venture for the whole family. Together, they continued to publish volumes of the Grands and Petits Voyages for another 46 years. The last volume, a third edition of Part IV of the America series, finally appeared in 1644.