- Museum number
Loggerhead turtle; seen from above, head to left
Watercolour and bodycolour over graphite, heightened with white
- Production date
Height: 187 millimetres
Width: 259 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.60, pp.202-3:
[NB. If you use any of the text or information below, please acknowledge the source]
'Caretta caretta caretta' (Linn.): Atlantic loggerhead turtle
This is apparently a male specimen of the Atlantic loggerhead, the only sea turtle that breeds in the Carolina Banks, though it ranges throughout the tropical and sub-tropical seas. The average length of their carapace is 90 cm and they weigh around 200 lb or more. They are now an endangered species in the USA and very rare in North Carolina though more common further south and in the West Indies, where White presumably drew his specimen. Even though the colours in White’s drawings appear very strong, the offset shows how much deeper the original watercolours once were before they were damaged by water after the fire in Sotheby’s warehouse in the mid nineteenth century.
Hulton noted that White’s drawing was copied in the Harvard 1589 version of the John Mountgomery manuscript ‘A treatice concerning the nauie of England’. The treatise was first written in 1570 but was added to in 1588 with advice on the coming Armada (cf. the British Library copy – the two versions have different illustrations). The artist who illustrated the treatise was not White, but certainly already knew his drawings, an indication they may have been circulating amongst Raleigh’s acquaintances or at court (illustrated in PH&DBQ 154(b)). The same turtle appears also in Boazio’s engraving of Drake’s attack on San Domingo in 1585 (engraved in 1589).
Lit.: LB 1(72); Quinn, p. 456; ECM 55; PH&DBQ 103(a); PH 55
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1952 Jul-Sep, BM, King's Lib, Raleigh/Hakluyt Quatercentenary, no.125
1965 Jan 30-Feb 22, NGC, Washington, John White, no.81
1965 26 Feb-14 Mar, NC Mus of Art, Raleigh, John White, no. 81
1965 17 Mar-5 Apr, NY, Pierpont Morgan Libr, John White, no. 81
1981 May-Aug, Nottingham, Castle Museum, 'English Watercolours'
2003 May-Sep, London, National Maritime Museum, 'Elizabeth 1'
2007 Mar-Jun, BM, 'A New World:...', no.60
2007/8 Oct-Jan, Raleigh, North Caroline Mus of History, 'A New World:...'
2008 Mah-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