The De Bry Map of Mauritius (1601)

The oldest printed map of Mauritius by Theodore De Bry, Delineatio Insvlae do Cerne, Alias Mavritivs Dictae (Frankfurt, 1601)

This map, from De Bry’s, Petits Voyages, Part 4, is the first printed map of Mauritius, published just three years after the Dutch landing in 1598 at the south-east harbor of Grand Port. As Basil Lubbock points out in his book, Old Ship Prints, the map, with clarity and skill, does two quite distinct things—the records an achievement (eleven ships are shown in the harbor) and it presents sailing directions for those seeking an appropriate anchorage. Thus landmarks include palm trees and mountains, a freshwater stream, islets where tortoises can be found, and a secret position where articles were left for later venturers.

Bry, Théodore de (tdôr´ d br, br), 1528–98, Flemish engraver and publisher, b. Liège. He spent most of his life in Frankfurt-am-Main. He visited London, where he executed a series of 12 plates, The Procession of the Knights of the Garter, and another of 34 plates, The Funeral of Sir Philip Sidney. The British geographer Hakluyt assisted him in obtaining materials for an illustrated collection of voyages and travels, Collectiones peregrinationum (1590–1634). Bry also published a series of portraits of famous men and illustrated the works of Thomas Hariot and J. J. Boissard.

His son John Théodore de Bry, 1561–1623, assisted him and continued or completed several of his works.

The Collectiones peregrinationum eventually totalled 57 separate parts, containing over 500 different copperplate engravings. They became known collectively as the Grands and Petits Voyages. The Grands Voyages dealt principally with the voyages of discovery and travels of exploration to America, whereas the Petits Voyages, which were in a slightly smaller format, dealt with those voyages of discovery and travels of exploration, principally to other parts of the world. De Bry died after the first seven parts of the Grands Voyages had appeared in print but the copperplate engravings were to be continued initially by his two sons, Johann Theodore de Bry and Johann Israel de Bry, then by his grand son-in-law, Mattheüs Merian


Simon Pashoe
A Painter in the Wilderness, Truro
U.K. Antique Atlas Publications, 999.
ISBN: 0 9514914 4X

E. Keble Chatterton
Old Ship Prints
1927 London, John Lane at Bodley Head
1955 reprint London, Spring Books