Collection online

print study / drawing

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Broiling fish over a fire Watercolour over graphite, heightened with white and gold

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1585-1593
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 146 millimetres
    • Width: 170 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Inscribed in brown ink: ‘The broyling of their fish ouer the flame of fier.’
  • 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. 43, pp. 180-90:
    [NB. If you use any of the text or information below, please acknowledge the source]:

    The grill was usually loaded with layers of fish, and others were hung on sticks beside the fire as seen here. He noted that they did not ‘scorch’ or smoke and dry their fish for storage as the Florida Indians did, but stated that they ate everything they cooked. Fish were generally plentiful in this area so they may have smoked fish only during a certain season which Harriot may not have observed.
    De Bry has used other figures and his imagination to people the scene, and has made errors as a result. Although the fish, probably shad, are large, the scale is incorrect, as they were not as large as here. He has taken the fish in the basket directly from the fishing scene with its incongruous mix of hammerhead shark, gar and catfish. Baskets of this European wicker form were not known amongst the tribes of this area.

    Engraving by De Bry in ‘America’, pt. I, pl. XIII: 'The brovvyllinge of their fishe ouer the flame.

    Lit.: LB 1(12); Quinn, pp. 435–6; ECM 45; PH&DBQ 49(a); PH 45; Rountree & Turner, pp. 93, 101, Kupperman 2000, pp. 163–4


  • Bibliography

    • Binyon 1898-1907 1(12) bibliographic details
    • Sloan 2007 43 bibliographic details
    • Croft-Murray 1960 45 bibliographic details
    • Hulton & Quinn 1964 49(a) bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British Roy PI)

  • Exhibition history

    1952 Jul-Sep, BM, King's Lib, Raleigh/Hakluyt Quatercentenary, no.117
    1965 Jan 30-Feb 22, NGC, Washington, John White, no.63
    1965 26 Feb- 14 Mar, NC Mus of Art, Raleigh, John White, no. 63
    1965 17 Mar-5 Apr, NY, Pierpont Morgan Libr, John White, no. 63
    1984 May 1- Dec 31, BL, Raleigh & Roanoke, no.81a
    1985 Mar-Jun, Raleigh, NC Mus of History, Raleigh & Roanoke, no. 77
    1985 Jun-Aug, New York, Public Library, Raleigh & Roanoke, no. 77
    2007 Mar-Jun, BM, 'A New World:...', no.43
    2007/8 Oct-Jan, Raleigh, North Carolina 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:...'

  • Subjects

  • Associated titles

    • Associated Title: America
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    The provenance given above refers to the moment when the album of drawings connected with John White was purchased by the Department of Manuscripts in what is now the British Library. The album was transferred to the Department of Prints and Drawings in 1906, where it was assigned new register numbers.

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Grilling fish; over a fire Watercolour over graphite, heightened with white (oxidised) and gold

Grilling fish; over a fire Watercolour over graphite, heightened with white (oxidised) and gold

Image description



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Object reference number: PDB48

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