Histoire Naturelle Des Indes: The Drake Manuscript in the Pierpont Morgan Library

Histoire Naturelle Des Indes: The Drake Manuscript in the Pierpont Morgan Library

by Francis Drake
     
 

In 1983, The Pierpont Morgan Library received, as the bequest of Clara S. Peck, an extraordinary volume whose beautiful paintings and descriptions document the plant, animal, and human life of the Caribbean late in the sixteenth century. Spaniards had already begun to exert influence over the indigenous people of the area when explorers from England and France arrived…  See more details below

Overview

In 1983, The Pierpont Morgan Library received, as the bequest of Clara S. Peck, an extraordinary volume whose beautiful paintings and descriptions document the plant, animal, and human life of the Caribbean late in the sixteenth century. Spaniards had already begun to exert influence over the indigenous people of the area when explorers from England and France arrived, among them Sir Francis Drake. The book, known as "The Drake Manuscript," and titled Histoire Naturelle des Indes when it was bound in the eighteenth century, gives us a wonderful picture of daily life at the time of Drake's many visits to the region. Although Drake's connection to the manuscript is uncertain, he is mentioned on more than one occasion by the authors. Drake himself is known to have painted, but none of his work survives. The work presented, here in full facsimile for the first time, is from the hands of two or more artists, most likely French, and the descriptions are French as well. Patrick O'Brian gives us a fascinating account of Drake the voyager. And in Verlyn Klinkenborg's introduction to the facsimile, we are given the background necessary to appreciate this magnificent manuscript to its fullest extent. Charles E. Pierce, Jr.'s preface and Ruth Kraemer's translations of the text round out this rich, beautiful, and historically invaluable book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The lives of the 16th-century Caribbean's indigenous people, as well as its flora and fauna, were captured on paper by French Huguenots who perhaps sailed with Sir Francis Drake. A sumptuous facsimile edition of Histoire Naturelle des indes: The Drake Manuscript in the Pierpont Morgan Library shows us people and objects of the new world as seen, conceived of and described by their "discoverers." Fish with menacing teeth, land and sea birds with multicolored wings and native peoples (at work, at play and even trading with the whites) are all rendered with watercolor-like simplicity and amateurish clarity. Ruth Kraemer translates the descriptions that accompany each scene; Patrick O'Brian provides a short biography of Drake; and Verlyn Klickenborg details the manuscript's own fragmentary history and narrative.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393039948
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
10/28/1996
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
8.25(w) x 12.08(h) x 1.17(d)

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