De BRY, Johann Theodor, (1560-1623) and Johann Israel de Bry (1565-1609). Part V, Plate 01,Description of the Island DoCerne Usually Called Mauritius. From the "little Voyages"

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De BRY, Johann Theodor, (1560-1623) and Johann Israel de Bry (1565-1609). Part V, Plate 01,Description of the Island DoCerne Usually Called Mauritius. From the "little Voyages"


Plate I, Conterfactur der Insel Do Cerne sonst Mauritius genannt.
From Part V of Johann Theodor de Bry (1561-1623) and Johann Isreal de Bry's (1565-1609) Orientalische Indien (“Little Voyages”), Funffter Theil der Orientalischen Indien...Frankfurt: 1601
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 63


Mauritius, an important trade locations for the Dutch East India Trading Company, located off the coast of Africa in the southwest Indian Ocean.

The port shown here upon the arrival at the island Mauritius was named Warwijck, after the vice admiral of the fleet, Wijbrand van Warwijck. The expedition called the island just above the letter D Heemskerck, after his colleague Jacob van Heemskerck. We only see five of the fleet's eight ships. Admiral Van Neck had taken the other three ships to search for fresh supplies on Madagascar. The other five ships were ordered to sail to Mauritius and stock up on fresh food and clean drinking water.*

Title: I. Description of the island DoCerne usually called Mauritius.

Text: This island called Mauritius by the Dutch, and otherwise DoCerne is explained through A. B. C. A. this is the entrance or entryway. B. is a wild palm tree/ planted by them as a sign to attract more ships. C. Those little crosses represent hidden cliffs which lay underwater. D. is a small island where the Indians got nuts. E. Those are salt streams where they went out to fish and got plenty of fish from one trip that they thought to lose their net and they couldn't get it out of the water without the help of another boat and found under the net 50 fish that were so wide that they had the width of half a tabletop this place was so rich of fish one could catch them on the riverside with a spear. F. this is a sweet stream which is their emergency source for water they also caught a ray in there which was without the tail almost four Ellen (German measurement which equals 8 feet) and they had trouble pulling it onto the boat. G. around this corner the vice admiral sailed and threw a lot a seeds peas beans etc. so if more ships get there they find them in case of emergency. H. Those are small islands where the sea hits and a lot of turtles stranded.**


Documenting the East Indian Journey led by Admiral Jacob Cornelius van Neck (1598), featuring Depictions of: Mauritius, Tuban, Banda, Ternate, Molluccas, Banda, and Gammalamme

The very first Dutch voyage to the East Indies took place in 1595 and was led by the brothers Frederik and Cornelis de Houtman. The second expedition followed in 1598, led by Admiral Jacob Cornelius van Neck. Eight ships left Amsterdam on this journey.

One of these ships was captained by Jacob van Heemskerck, who earlier had participated in the arctic expedition led by Willem Barents in 1595- 1597, an ill-fated journey that ended with the famous overwintering in Novaya Zemlya. In addition to Heemskerck there was a third lead- ing figure on this trip, Vice Admiral Wijbrand van Warwijck.

The eight ships departed in the direction of southern Africa. After the Cape of Good Hope, half the fleet put in at Madagascar, the other half went to Mauritius. The admiral met up with the other captains in Bantam (on the northern point of Java).

After loading the ships with a great quantity of spices there, Van Neck sent vice admirals Van Heemskerck and Van Warwijck on to the Maluku Islands (formerly known as the Moluccas, or Spice Islands). He himself started the return journey. After 14 months, on 19 July 1599, Van Neck returned to the  Netherlands with a rich cargo: 600,000 pounds of pepper, 250,000 pounds of cloves, 20,000 pounds of nutmeg and 200 pounds of mace.

When Van Neck distributed the profits among the expedition's shareholders, Van Warwijck and Van Heemskerck were already far along in their journey. They first put in at the Javan city of Tuban, where they bought food and visited the palace of the local king. They continued on to Ambon, where they arrived in 1599. A few trading posts were opened on the Maluku island of Ambon for the purchase of cloves. Commerce also took place on Banda, part of the southern Maluku Islands and at the time the only island in the world where nutmeg grew.

De Bry's prints are illustrations to the original travel accounts of Van Neck and Warwijck and were probably drawn in the Netherlands after the expedition's return, on the basis of sketches that made by the crew.*

*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