De BRY, Johann Theodor, (1560-1623) and Johann Israel de Bry (1565-1609). Part III, Plate 56, How We as a Result of a Storm in the Night Got Lost and Lost Eachother as Well as Other Circumstances

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De BRY, Johann Theodor, (1560-1623) and Johann Israel de Bry (1565-1609). Part III, Plate 56, How We as a Result of a Storm in the Night Got Lost and Lost Eachother as Well as Other Circumstances. From the "Little Voyages"


Plate LVI Wie wir durch einen Sturm in der Nacht uns verlohren...
From Part III of Johann Theodor de Bry (1561-1623) and Johann Isreal de Bry's (1565-1609) Orientalische Indien (“Little Voyages”), Dritter Theil indiae orientalis...Frankfurt: 1599 (first edition)
Engraving with original, early 17th century hand color heightened with gold on laid paper; paper dimensions: approximately: 11 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches
Printed by Matthias Becker
van Groesen 52


More than two months after starting their return journey, the two boats became separated. On the morning of August 17 one of the boats saw a Russian boat appear on the horizon. They quickly rowed towards it.

In the picture we see the Russian boat with the Dutch sloop next to it. The Dutch were invited to come aboard. The Russians immediately gave the crew bread and they sold bacon, flour, butter and honey to the Dutch. To the great joy of the crew, the Russians said that they had seen the other boat, with seven people aboard. On August 21, after the boats had been separated for ten days, the two Dutch boats found each other once again.*

Title: How we as a result of a storm in the night got lost and lost each other as well as other circumstances. 

Text: Ultimately it happened at the time of midnight because of a storm that our party with the one bigger boat became separated cautiously thus we with great wind and the smaller boat had to put down our sail halfway to prevent grounding/ were therefore concerned about our other party and couldn't think other than they were lost especially we had to worry about that they don't have enough provisions back then we encountered several Russian ships from which we after making distress calls bought provisions. And when we encountered another Russian ship they indicated so much that they met our other boat who bought some provisions from them which pleased us on the other hand.**


Documenting Gerrit de Veer's Journal of Three Dutch voyages to reach the East Indies by the North (1594- 1597).


In 1596 helmsman Willem Barents undertook a third attempt to reach Asia from the Netherlands by sailing via the North Pole. There was reportedly a large open sea beyond the island of Novaya Zemlya. Once you passed this, and headed back to the south, you would presumably emerge near Japan and China.

Barents' first attempt involved navigating along the northern side of Novaya Zemlya, the second along the southern side of that island, via Vaygach. Both attempts had to be abandoned because of the advancing ice.

While seven ships full of merchandise had sailed during the second journey, now for the third attempt, the expedition was more prudent: the main concern was exploring the sea route, trade was  secondary. Only two  ships, both from Amsterdam, sailed on May 18, 1596, this time once again via the northern side of Novaya Zemlya.

Willem Barents was helmsman on the ship captained by 29-year-old Jacob  van  Heemskerck. Captain of the second ship was merchant Jan Cornelisz Rijp. Barents and Rijp soon clashed over the route to follow. The northern route championed by Rijp, which had also been indicated by cartographer Plancius, won out. Although they discovered two islands, Bear Island and Spitsbergen, the first leg was a failure. They came up against an impenetrable layer of ice. Barents wanted to fol- low the northeasterly route. Rijp wasn't interested and went his own way. When he once again hit pack ice, he turned homeward. Barents and Heemskerck headed towards the northern point of Novaya Zemlya. The expedition was to be a disaster, but thanks to the spectacular overwintering of Willem Barents and his crew, under abominable conditions, this journey took on epic proportions in the illustrious history of exploration.

Not long after the return of the survivors in 1598, the story of the adventure was published, penned by Gerrit de Veer, who had been on both the second and third journey with Barents.*

*Research provided by Martine Gosselink, head of the History department at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Netherlands.

**Translated from original German by Karl Nesseler.

Description compiled by Erik Brockett who is pleased to provide additional information relating to this or other examples of the work of Johann Theodor de Bry available at Arader Galleries. He can be contacted at