- Museum number
Cooking in an earthen pot; with meat, maize, etc., and a fire
Watercolour over graphite, touched with gold and white
- Production date
Height: 150 millimetres
Width: 195 millimetres
- 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. 42, pp. 180-90:
[NB. If you use any of the text or information below, please acknowledge the source]:
Pottery shards are one of the very few types of Algonquian artefacts that have been found on the Fort Raleigh site during archaeological excavations. The remains found there of three pottery vessels, including a large clay pot of this type, validate John White’s watercolours. at the same time pointing out where artistic licence has slightly overshadowed the strictest accuracy, as the pots found have slightly less pointed bases. In fact the base might have been quite difficult to observe, as generally it was buried in the sand and coals of the fire for more efficient heating. The pots were made of local clay, tempered with crushed shell, built up with coils which are seen clearly on the pot here. They were usually smoothed over and then incised, stamped or impressed with woven textiles (made from silk grass cords) as decoration. They were then dried out and fired – the process took several days. Hulton and Quinn noted that, given the usual size of the coils, the pot shown here should be about a foot in diameter; but White’s sense of scale was generally good and this pot might actually be larger than that, given the size of the cob of corn and the fire the pot is set in. Pots were kept simmering all day and night on the fire in the centre of the house, with additional items thrown in as they were procured – vegetables (maize, beans, pumpkin), herbs and roots, fish and meat – and people ate when they were hungry.
The figures in the engraving were probably added by the engraver, Gysbert van Veen, who based them on others from the group. He has given the woman a breechcloth, which is not otherwise known to have been worn by women, and a spoon, also not otherwise known amongst the North Carolina Algonquians, and the scale of the pot has been exaggerated in relation to the figures. In the caption, Harriot pointed out that the Indians were moderate in their eating, which kept them healthy, declaring, ‘I wish to god wee would followe their exemple’, castigating his European audiences for their sumptuous and unseasonable banquets, continually devising new sauces and provoking gluttony to satisfy their insatiable appetites.
Engraved by G.Veen in de Bry ‘America’ pt I, pl. XV: 'Their seetheynge of their meate in earthen pottes'.
Lit.: LB 1(11); Quinn, pp. 437–8; ECM 44; PH&DBQ 48(a); PH 44; Rountree pp. 62–5
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1952 Jul-Sep, BM, King's Lib, Raleigh/Hakluyt Quatercentenary, no.116
1965 Jan 30-Feb 22, NGC, Washington, John White, no.61
1965 26 Feb-14 Mar, NC Mus of Art, Raleigh, John White, no. 61
1965 17 Mar-5 Apr, NY, Pierpont Morgan Libr, John White, no. 61
1984 May 1- Dec 31, BL, Raleigh & Roanoke, no.81
1985 Mar-Jun, Raleigh, NC Mus of History, Raleigh & Roanoke, no. 76
1985 Jun-Aug, New York, Public Library, Raleigh & Roanoke, no. 76
2007 Mar-Jun, BM, 'A New World:...', no.42
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:...'
- Associated titles
Associated Title: America
- 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.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number