De BRY, Johann Theodor, (1560-1623) and Johann Israel de Bry (1565-1609). Part III, Plate 57, How We Came Over the White Sea and Docked at Lapland Where we Found Several Russian and Lappian Cottages

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De BRY, Johann Theodor, (1560-1623) and Johann Israel de Bry (1565-1609). Part III, Plate 57, How We Came Over the White Sea and Docked at Lapland Where we Found Several Russian and Lappian Cottages. From the "Little Voyages"


Plate LVII, Wie wir uber das weisse meertom men und an Lappiam angerlandet...
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


The crew were rescued near Kola in the Russian Lapland, which sits in the far north-west corner of the Russian Federation. The Lapland contains the easternmost territories of the Lapps, or Saami, ancient people whose ancestral lands straddle Northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the far north-west of Russia. After much peregri nation, what remained of the crew arrived on the western edge of the White Sea, where they encountered a boat with thirteen Russians and two Laplanders with their wives and children.

The Dutch were welcomed by the Russians, they were given food and their clothing was hung out to dry. On the bottom right of the picture we see the two Dutch boats, depicted as very small, moored next to a village. The local inhabitants and the Laplanders are depicted much larger, with their local costumes and customs, on snowshoes and with their children in baskets on their backs.*

Title: How we came over the white sea and docked at Lapland where we found several Russian and Lappian cottages. 

Text: After we sailed through the white sea we came to Lappiam, and had to as a result of the great rain for which we were not prepared go behind a cliff in a river found a great Russian ship including several cottages in there were thirteen men who every morning sailed out in two boats to observe and report. Those acted poorly their diet was fish- based the bread that came with their meal was also dried fish they had two Laplanders with their women and children with them which they kept miserably which they fed just the head and tail of the fish the ones they did not want.

The sketched Laplanders with their clothing did we present in this illustration. How they carry their children/ as well as how the Russian women wear their clothes. In this place we find our presumed lost party content of historians.**


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