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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Common hoopoe; crested bird, seen in profile, facing to right Watercolour and bodycolour over graphite, heightened with white (oxidised)

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1585-1593
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 151 millimetres
    • Width: 212 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Inscribed in graphite: "61"
  • 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.71, pp.216-17:
    [NB. If you use any of the text or information below, please acknowledge the source]

    'Upopa epops' Linn.
    Most of White’s drawings from the 1585 voyage are labelled – the costume studies and these two watercolours of birds (this and the roller) are not, perhaps an indication that they were done at a different time and for a different purpose. The birds are both European varieties. They are quite clearly by the same hand that drew the flamingo and brown booby, but they do not have the same amount of lead white mixed in with their pigments and no gold or silver .

    The hoopoe is an exotic-looking bird, particularly when its crest is raised, as shown here. It is a ground feeder, its head bobbing as it searches for food. It is very common in Spain and is frequently seen on the English south coast during migration in the spring, especially on Portland Bill in Dorset. Like many species, it may have been far more common in the sixteenth century than it is now.

    Lit.: LB 1(62); Quinn, p. 464; ECM 66; PH&DBQ 133; PH 70


  • Bibliography

    • Binyon 1898-1907 1(62) bibliographic details
    • Hulton & Quinn 1964 133 bibliographic details
    • Croft-Murray 1960 66 bibliographic details
    • Sloan 2007 71 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British Roy PI)

  • Exhibition history

    1965 Jan 30-Feb 22, NGC, Washington, John White, no.105
    1965 26 Feb-14 Mar, NC Mus of Art, Raleigh, John White, no. 105
    1965 17 Mar-5 Apr, NY, Pierpont Morgan Libr, John White, no. 105
    2007 Mar-Jun, BM, 'A New World:...', no.71
    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

  • 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


Hoopoe . Pen and brown ink and watercolour over graphite, heightened with white (oxidised). After treatment and inlaying.


Hoopoe . Pen and brown ink and watercolour over graphite, heightened with white (oxidised). After treatment and inlaying.

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Object reference number: PDB79

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