Parts I-IX only (of 13), in 5 vols., folio, volume one (12 6/8 x 9 inches), others (14 x 9 2/8 inches).
I. [Hariot's "A brief and true report of the new found land of Virginia", London, 1588.] Admiranda Narratio fida tamen, de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae… 1590. Frankfurt: Johannes Wecheli, Theodore deBry, 1590. Engraved title-page, vignette coat-of-arms, engraved folding map of Virginia, and 28 numbered plates, including one double and one folding mostly after John White by Theodor de Bry, woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials (many margins shaved occasionally affecting the image and lettering, a marginal wormhole affecting the image of 6 leaves, a few pale stains affecting one or two "Pict" plates caption leaves). First Latin edition, mostly first issue (plates 3,4,7,8,10 and 11 in the second issue state), with D6 blank. Church 140 and 141.
II. [Le Moyne's Florida]. Brevis narratio eorum quae in Florida Americae Provincia Gallis acciderunt... Auctore Jacobo le Moyne. Frankfurt: 1591 [i.e., 1609]. Engraved title-page, vignette coat-of-arms, engraved folding map of Florida and Cuba (neat repairs to folds on verso), plate of Noah and his Ark, and 42 numbered plates after Jacques Le Moyne, woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials. Second edition. Church 146.
III. [Stadius's Brazil]. Americae tertia pars Memorabilem provinciae Brasiliae Historiam continens, germanico primum sermone scriptam a Ioanne Stadio. Frankfurt: 1592 [sectional titles and colophon: 1605]. Engraved title-page, vignette coat-of-arms, full-page engraving with seven armorial shields and figures of the Virtues, engraved folding map of South America, full-page plate of Adam and Eve on page 144 (same as in part I above), 30 engraved plates repeated to 45 impressions, woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials Folding map supplied. Second edition, mixed first and second issue, with the plate on page 127 not repeating the plate on page 125, plate 23 on page 125, and plates 18 and 19 correctly printed on pages 78 and 80. Church 150-151.
IV. [Benzoni's History of the New World]. Americae pars quarta, sive, Insignis & Admiranda Historia de reperta primum Occidentali India à Christophoro Columbo Anno M.CCCCXCII scripta ab Hieronymo Bezono Mediolanense… Frankfurt: 1594. Engraved title-page (repeated), full-page engraving with seven armorial shields and figures of the Virtues, engraving of Columbus led by the deities, allegorical engraving "Americae retectio," double-page engraved map of the Caribbean and adjacent areas, 24 numbered engravings, woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials (pale stain to map, small hole in plate xx, repaired marginal tear to plate xxiiii just affecting the image). Second edition, with final blank F6 (blank R6 replaced). Church 155.
V. [Benzoni's History, continued]. Americae pars quinta... secundae sectionis Hia [Historiae] Hispanorum. Frankfurt: Theodore de Bry, 1595. Engraved title-page, repeated, vignette portrait of Christopher Columbus, engraved folding map of Mexico, and 22 numbered engraved plates, woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials (map with small tear at fold juncture). First edition, with [l2], [l3] and F4 blank (this copy with 2l2 correctly signed). Church 156.
VI. [Benzoni's History, concluded]. Americae pars sexta, sive historiae ab Hieronymo Benzono Mediolanese [sic]... scriptae, sectio tertia. Frankfurt: Theodore de Bry, 1596. Engraved title-page, repeated (second title without pasted down "Sequuntur Icones" slip), double-page engraved plan of Cuzco, double-page engraved map of the Western Hemisphere with portraits of Columbus, Vespucci, Magellan and Pizarro, 27 numbered plates (lacking final blank G6). First edition. Church 158.
VII. [Schmidel's Brazil and Paraguay]. Americae Pars VII. Verissima et Iucundissima description praecipuarum quarundam Indiae regionum & insularum… Theodore de Bry, 1599. Engraved title-page and one plate (lacking final blank H4). First Edition in Latin, Church 161.
VIII. [Voyages of Drake, Hawkins, Cavendish and Raleigh]. Americae Pars VIII continens primo, descriptionem trium itinerum nobilissimi et fortissimo equities Francisci Draken, qui peragrato primum universe terrarium orbe,... [Sectional title-page: Frankfurt: Matthew Becker and] Theodore de Bry, 1599. Letterpress title-page with engraved double hemisphere world map after Jodocus Hondius (Shirley 219), engraved folding map of Guiana (lower edge to ca. 1/2 inch and upper edge to ca 1/4 inch defective and restored, affected areas supplied in skilful manuscript facsimile), small oval world map on KK4v (Shirley 220), 18 numbered plates. First edition, mixed first and second issues without the small map on AA2r, with AA2 correctly signed, plates XIII and XIV correctly printed, and with plates VI-IX with engraved numbers on the plates, e4 blank. Church 163 and 164. .
IX. [Acosta's History of the New World, De Weert's and Van Noort's voyages]. Americae Nona & postrema pars. Qua de ratione elementorum: de novi orbis natura. Frankfurt: Matthew Becker, 1602. Engraved title-page, vignette coat-of-arms, engraved map of the Straits of Magellan, part titles with engraved vignettes, , the "Additamentum" title with engraved portrait of Van Noort incorporating a world map (Shirley 229), letterpress section titles to the second and third parts and to each of the two series of plates, two series of numbered plates (I-XXV and I-XIV) (lacking blank leaf Yy6, 4 leaves with small marginal repairs). First Edition in Latin, with final blank leaf ddd4. Church 168.
Provenance: "an unidentified European Royal family" reported Christie's 26th October 1988, lot 44.
A HANDSOME SET OF DE BRY'S GREAT VOYAGES uniformly and finely bound in modern burgundy morocco gilt.
Inspired by a meeting with the celebrated Richard Hakluyt in London in 1587, de Bry published the first of his own collection of voyages relating to the Americas in 1590: Hariot's account of Virginia. In order to maximize profit he had editions published in English, Latin, French and German. He went on to publish five further parts before his death in 1598, when his sons Johann Theodor and Johann Israel took over the task of completing the Great Voyages and began the Small Voyages, and oeuvre which eventually stretched to 25 volumes. Forty-four years passed between the publication of the first part of the Great Voyages and the last part of the Small Voyages, and it is therefore no wonder that sets like this one are made of a variety of editions and issues: "during this long interval, the publishers of this great collection must have reprinted, even more than once, the greater part of the volumes, which had become successively out of print; but, before coming to entire reimpressions, they would naturally use the portions either of text or of plates which were on hand. It appears, in fact, that the plates were at first printed only for a part of the two texts of the first volumes, and that, when this first impression was exhausted, it became necessary to have a second, and at the same time, to print on the pages destined to receive the engravings both the numbers indicating their order, and the titles or explanations, which appear above and below those engravings, and that, finally, when the text was entirely exhausted, they reprinted it, at first with the old date, and afterwards with a new date. This explains how it is that one encounters, besides the editions reprinted as a whole, copies of the first edition offspring so many various readings that one might think they belonged to different editions." Sabin 8784. Catalogued by Kate Hunter