- Museum number
A 'Pict warrior'; nude with stained and painted body, with shield, curved sword and spear
Pen and brown ink and watercolour and bodycolour over graphite, touched with white (discoloured)
- Production date
Height: 243 millimetres
Width: 152 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. 32, pp. 158-59:
[NB. If you use any of the text or information below, please acknowledge the source]
Dio Cassius (see no. 24) is the only classical author to mention a ‘short spear with a bronze apple on the end of the shaft, so that when it is shaken it clashes’. De Bry did not engrave this second figure of a Pictish man, but took the example of the spear here, adding a tasselled point and gave it to his engraving of the Pictish man with a head, adding another head as well to increase his ferocity. De Bry’s image was used by John Speed and other historians who followed their example. There is archaeological evidence of this spear as a peculiarly Scottish type found in examples from East Lothian to Orkney.
Through Speed especially, later authors came to rely upon these images of Picts and they completely altered the view of the ancient Briton, visually and conceptually, after 1590. Even in 1815, Charles Hamilton Smith relied upon it as well as classical sources and archaeological evidence, producing something very close for his own images of a Maeatea and Caledonian in his'Costumes of the Original Inhabitants of the British Isles'.
Instead of this second image of a Pictish man, de Bry included an engraving of ‘a yonge dowgter of the Pictes’, the ‘original’ watercolour for which does not survive amongst the group in the British Museum. In the 1960s, however, an anonymous painting in bodycolours on vellum clearly related to the engraving was acquired by Paul Mellon. It was later attributed to Le Moyne by Paul Hulton on the grounds of style, because it was clearly related to the Florida work in the same medium in New York, and because he argued that only Le Moyne could have executed the exquisite flowers that covered her body. There are many unanswered questions remaining about this work and its relation to the John White series and to the de Bry engravings. The tattooing on the other Picts is closely copied by de Bry, whereas her tattooing in this plate is quite different from the original. The image is identical to the print in every other detail, however (just as the Florida image is), down to the cloud pattern, the dogs and people in the distance and the windmill on the distant hill. In this book we have argued that the backgrounds in the other de Bry engravings are his own inventions and not White’s, and this might be assumed for the Picts too, as they show castles and ships and two-storey dwellings inappropriate for what was known about the Picts by historians at the time such as Camden and Speed. It is not possible to discover the relationship of this drawing of a young Pict to the rest, except for its unusual similarity to the engraving but with an additional virtuoso performance in the way of miniature paintings of flowers that had recently arrived in Europe. Perhaps all of White’s Picts are based on originals by Le Moyne, but de Bry probably would have known and mentioned this.
Not engraved by de Bry; instead de Bry engraved a young woman tattooed with flowers: 'The trvve picture of yonge dowgter of the Pictes III', associated with a painting now in the Yale Center for British Art, attributed to Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues.
Lit.: LB 1(27); ECM 69; PH&DBQ 125; PH 66; Piggott, pp. 75–85; for the daughter of the Picts see Hulton, Le Moyne, pp. 14, 15, 164, and Feest 1984
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1954 BM, 'Anglo-Flemish Art Under The Tudors', no.58
1965 Jan 30-Feb 22, NGC, Washington, John White, no.97
1965 26 Feb-14 Mar, NC Mus of Art, Raleigh, John White, no.97
1965 17 Mar-5 Apr, NY, Pierpont Morgan Libr, John White, no.97
2007 Mar-Jun, BM, 'A New World:...', no.32
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:...'
- 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