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Topographical Views & Exploration

Topographical Views and Exploration Prints

De BRY, Johann Theodor, (1560-1623) and Johann Israel de Bry (1565-1609). Part V, Plate 19, Several Chambers in the King's Courtyard. From the "Little Voyages"

De BRY, Johann Theodor, (1560-1623) and Johann Israel de Bry (1565-1609). Part V, Plate 19, Several Chambers in the King's Courtyard. From the "Little Voyages"

8,500.00

De BRY, Johann Theodor, (1560-1623) and Johann Israel de Bry (1565-1609). Part V, Plate 19, Several Chambers in the King's Courtyard. From the "Little Voyages"

$8,500.00

Plate XIX, Etliche Gemach in desz KoUnigs Hoff.
From Part V of Johann Theodor de Bry (1561-1623) and Johann Isreal de Bry's (1565-1609) Orientalische Indien (“Little Voyages”), Funffter Theil der Orientalischen Indien...Frankfurt: 1601
Engraving with original, early 17th century hand color heightened with gold on laid paper; paper dimensions: approximately: 11 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches
Printed by Matthias Becker
van Groesen 63

THE ANIMALS OF THE KING OF TUBAN

This illustration does not follow the chronology of the travel account. After all, here we are back in the village of Tuban, on the east coast of Java, where the Dutch put in en route from Bantam to the Maluku Islands.

This print shows us the king's bedroom, the turtle- dove chamber. Because of the somewhat schematic presentation, the scene does not come across as very atmospheric or tasteful. Most likely the artist himself had not seen his subject and the scenes were reconstructed after the return to the Netherlands with descriptions from the crew. The text in the travel account describes the ruler's box bed as a stone with engraved foliage, where the Dutch were allowed to take their place seated on a mat. They were questioned by the king about their own ruler or king and the interpreter answered. On this print we do not see the Dutch visiting the ruler however, but the ruler's daughter visiting and playing with him. This episode too is recounted in the journal: the princess, wearing thick gold-enameled bracelets, was brought to her father by a slave woman. At the edge of the king's sleeping pavilion, we see the cages of the turtledoves hanging. We also see a room with boxes, roosters in baskets, parrots, twelve dogs and, at the center of all these buildings, an elephant with his trunk on a rock.*

Title: XIX. Several chambers in the king's courtyard.

Text: When the king of Tuban guided the Dutch through his palace they saw all kinds of things: the king had a house in which he kept his armor and jewelry for war which are all placed in trunks and boxes and two or three each were stacked/ marked with A. B. is a house full of cages hanging there each one had a rooster the king made those roosters fight for a little while: there was also a place similar full of parrots/ each in a cage Those were all varieties of parrots (called Noyras by the natives) beautiful friendly and eloquent just wonderful marked with C. D. is a house in which the king keeps his hound dogs as shown in the illustration with the letter D. E. shows the king sitting with the Dutch and his elephant came up to them/ fell on his knees and put his trunk on his knees until the king gave him fruits which he had with him right after the elephant rose again and went back to his stable. All those animals of each species had their own trainer and teacher. Finally the king showed three Dutchmen his bedroom and his bed with silk and filled with silk. This bed lay on a stone table built up three feet high from the ground this stone table was decorated with beautiful leaf drawings: several cages hung around the bed in which each were some turtle doves for the king's entertainment and pleasure. The king lay down onto this bed and played with his daughter who was a little child/ her arms full of golden bracelets and marked in the illustration with F.**

ENGRAVED PLATES FROM VOLUME V OF DE BRY’S ‘LITTLE VOYAGES’ OF THE EAST INDIES

Documenting the East Indian Journey led by Admiral Jacob Cornelius van Neck (1598), featuring Depictions of: Mauritius, Tuban, Banda, Ternate, Molluccas, Banda, and Gammalamme

The very first Dutch voyage to the East Indies took place in 1595 and was led by the brothers Frederik and Cornelis de Houtman. The second expedition followed in 1598, led by Admiral Jacob Cornelius van Neck. Eight ships left Amsterdam on this journey.

One of these ships was captained by Jacob van Heemskerck, who earlier had participated in the arctic expedition led by Willem Barents in 1595- 1597, an ill-fated journey that ended with the famous overwintering in Novaya Zemlya. In addition to Heemskerck there was a third lead- ing figure on this trip, Vice Admiral Wijbrand van Warwijck.

The eight ships departed in the direction of southern Africa. After the Cape of Good Hope, half the fleet put in at Madagascar, the other half went to Mauritius. The admiral met up with the other captains in Bantam (on the northern point of Java).

After loading the ships with a great quantity of spices there, Van Neck sent vice admirals Van Heemskerck and Van Warwijck on to the Maluku Islands (formerly known as the Moluccas, or Spice Islands). He himself started the return journey. After 14 months, on 19 July 1599, Van Neck returned to the  Netherlands with a rich cargo: 600,000 pounds of pepper, 250,000 pounds of cloves, 20,000 pounds of nutmeg and 200 pounds of mace.

When Van Neck distributed the profits among the expedition's shareholders, Van Warwijck and Van Heemskerck were already far along in their journey. They first put in at the Javan city of Tuban, where they bought food and visited the palace of the local king. They continued on to Ambon, where they arrived in 1599. A few trading posts were opened on the Maluku island of Ambon for the purchase of cloves. Commerce also took place on Banda, part of the southern Maluku Islands and at the time the only island in the world where nutmeg grew.

De Bry's prints are illustrations to the original travel accounts of Van Neck and Warwijck and were probably drawn in the Netherlands after the expedition's return, on the basis of sketches that made by the crew.*

*Research provided by Martine Gosselink, head of the History department at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Netherlands.

**Translated from original German by Karl Nesseler.

Description compiled by Erik Brockett who is pleased to provide additional information relating to this or other examples of the work of Johann Theodor de Bry available at Arader Galleries. He can be contacted at erikbrockett@aradergalleries.com

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