A New World: England's First View of America

Kim Sloan, Author, Joyce E. Chaplin, Contribution by, Christian F. Feest, Contribution by University of North Carolina Press $65 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8078-3125-0
Elizabethan artist John White, a gentleman of the court and a friend of Sir Walter Raleigh, made five voyages to the new world from 1584 to 1590 and provided England its first look at Native Americans and their home through his watercolor and ink illustrations. Author and British Museum curator Sloan devotes her first six chapters to historical background, placing White's voyages to the New World in context; not only would White be appointed governor of Roanoke colony, he would also became grandfather to the first European born in North America. The remainder of the book catalogues White's 75 watercolors (lost in the 16th century, rediscovered in 1788 and bought by the British Museum in 1866), which include renderings of Native Americans, Inuit, flora, fauna and maps. Sloan excels in explaining the images' historical significance: White's watercolors of Native Americans are remarkable for their sympathetic portrayal of real individuals-painted at a time when tribes like the Inuit were considered ""barely human"" by the English-and provide information about status, apparel, weapons and personal character. White's skill also extended to cartography: his detailed map of the Virginia coast has proven accurate when compared against modern satellite photography. A visual treat throughout, Sloan's collection is fully explicated, thoroughly sourced and handsomely presented.
Reviewed on: 03/26/2007
Release date: 03/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-8078-5825-7
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-7141-2650-0
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