A New World: England’s first view of America
British Museum
United Kingdom

Sun, 10th June 2007 – Sun, 17th June 2007

The extraordinary watercolours of John White gave the Elizabethan world its first glimpse of America, ultimately shaping its view of the New World. This exhibition focuses on more than 70 watercolours made by White on the voyages to Virginia (now North Carolina) in the 1580s. These images are the earliest visual record by an Englishman of the flora, fauna and people of America and provide us with an idea of how fascinating this strange New World must have been to Europeans of the late 16th century.

The exhibition also features a selection of Elizabethan portraits, maritime and scientific instruments from the period, alongside historic maps, books, prints and other exquisite objects which relate to Elizabethan navigation and capture the excitement of this golden age of exploration.

A New World looks at the lasting impact John White’s watercolours had on the Old World’s impression of America. His legacy continued for over 250 years after his death thanks to the reproduction and adaptation of his work by later artists, a selection of which is displayed in the exhibition.

Supported by The Annenberg Foundation.

Additional support provided by the American Friends of the British Museum.

Small image: John White, An Indian Chief (detail), watercolour, about 1585 © The Trustees of the British Museum

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