March 20, 2007

First images of Indians ever

A once-in-a-lifetime show

The British Museum's latest exhibition reveals an Elizabethan explorer's view of America. It is unmissable, says Richard DormentThe watercolours and drawings White returned with are ... as rare as any works of art in the world--the earliest surviving views of America and the images that would give Europeans their visual impression of the New World for two centuries.

White ... records the appearance and culture of the local inhabitants, the Algonquin Indians. In doing so his role was as much salesman as scientist, for one of the purposes of these drawings was to convince Englishmen back home to become future colonists. At the very least he needed to show that the locals were peaceable farmers and not (like tribes the Spanish encountered further south) cannibals.

No comments: