Crates ligneain quapifces vftulant (The Wooden Frame on Which They Roast Fish)
Two Indian men are portrayed roasting fish on a wooden frame in this colored engraving by Theodor de Bry based on a watercolor painting by John White. Adding considerable detail to White's eyewitness sketch, de Bry attempts to depict the lives of Algonquian-speaking Indians in the Outer Banks region of present-day North Carolina. These Indians are closely related in language and culture to the Indians of Tidewater Virginia, and White's paintings are an important source of historical and ethnographic information about both groups.
White's original painting showed only the fire, wooden frame, and fish. De Bry enlarged the fire and added the two men based on descriptions by Thomas Hariot, who accompanied White and approximately 600 colonists to Roanoke in 1585. In a caption to the engraving, Hariot wrote that the Indians were cooking the fish not for winter storage but for immediate eating: "For this people reservinge nothinge for store, they do broile, and spend away all att once and when they have further neede, they roste or seethe fresh …"
De Bry's engravings accompanied A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia, Hariot's description of his year at Roanoke, which was intended to serve, in part, as a justification for further colonizing efforts. These rare, hand-colored versions of the illustrations appeared in a 1590 edition published in Latin.
Description courtesy of Encyclopedia Virginia.