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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    An Indian man and woman eating; on rush mat, eating maize from a large round flat dish Watercolour over graphite, touched with white, bodycolour and gold

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1585-1593
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 209 millimetres
    • Width: 214 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Inscribed in brown ink: "Theire sitting at meate ." and in graphite: "20"
  • Curator's comments

    For an introduction to this group of drawings by John White and a list of abbreviations used in the Literature at the end, see curatorial comment for 1906,0509.1.1, the title page inscription to the album.

    The following text is taken from K. Sloan, 'A New World: England's First View of America' (London, BM Publications, 2006), no. 24, pp. 144-5:
    [NB. If you use any of the text or information below, please acknowledge the source]

    The man in this watercolour is dressed like the old man of Pomeiooc (no. 19), but is showing the shaved side of his head, an ear ornament similar to the Priest’s (no. 14) and a feather, which may indicate that he is younger. The woman is also young and her skin apron also seems to rise up her back and front to join on her shoulder which is covered by her hand. She is not tattooed as the other women are and her beads are not elaborate; the couple are probably not as high-ranking as the others depicted by White. They are sharing a meal, probably of hulled corn (soaked until the skins come off and then boiled until they puff up), on a wooden platter, seated on a reed mat similar to the ones shown in both village scenes.

    In his engraving de Bry added a significant number of artefacts to this scene which are not mentioned by Harriot in the caption but are referred to in his main text, and include a gourd for carrying water, a tobacco pouch and clay pipe, walnut, fish, corn and shell, perhaps the invention of the engraver and intended to indicate the contents of their dish, as assumed from Harriot’s main account.

    The most significant comment appended to this image by Harriot is that the Indians ate ‘soberly��� and did not overindulge as he implies the English tended to do, and were healthier and longer-lived as a result.

    Engraved by Theodor de Bry in “America”, pl. XVI: 'Their sitting at meate.'

    Lit.: LB 1(21); Quinn, pp. 429–30; ECM 41; PH&DBQ 44(a); PH 41; Rountree, p. 51; Kupperman 2000, pp. 159–65


  • Bibliography

    • Binyon 1(21) bibliographic details
    • Sloan 2007 24 bibliographic details
    • Croft-Murray 1960 41 bibliographic details
    • Hulton+Quinn 44(a) bibliographic details
  • Location

    British Roy PI

  • Exhibition history

    1952 Jul-Sep, BM, King's Lib, Raleigh/Hakluyt Quatercentenary, no.120
    1965 Jan 30-Feb 22, NGC, Washington, John White, no.54
    1965 26 Feb-14 Mar, NC Mus of Art, Raleigh, John White, no. 54
    1965 17 Mar-5 Apr, NY, Pierpont Morgan Libr, John White, no. 54
    1984 May 1- Dec 31, BL, Raleigh & Roanoke, no.68
    1985 Mar-Jun, Raleigh, NC Mus of History, Raleigh & Roanoke, no. 78
    1985 Jun-Aug, New York, Public Library, Raleigh & Roanoke, no. 78
    2007 Mar-Jun, BM, 'A New World:...', no.24
    2007/8 Oct-Jan, Raleigh, North Caroline Mus of History, 'A New World:...'
    2008 Mar-Jun, New Haven, Yale Center for British Art, 'A New World:...'
    2008 Jul-Oct, Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement, 'A New World:...'

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

  • Subjects

  • Associated titles

    • Associated Title: America
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


An Indian man and a woman eating; on rush mat, eating fruit (?)
Watercolour over graphite, touched with white

An Indian man and a woman eating; on rush mat, eating fruit (?) Watercolour over graphite, touched with white

Image description



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Object reference number: PDB59

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