2020 Thomas Harriot Lecture: Thomas Harriot and the Creation of America’s First Illustrated Coloring Book

Larry E. Tise, late Wilbur & Orville Wright Distinguished Professor of History, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA

Scholars of science and technology frequently lament that Thomas Harriot did not publish a great book during this lifetime. This judgment sadly overlooks the fact that Harriot wrote and published the most important illustrated exploration narrative of European expansion into the Americas. His Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, issued in pamphlet form in 1588, was published in 1590 with 24 elegant copperplate engravings. The vivid illustrations were carefully captioned by Harriot himself and these images indelibly fixed our mental image of native Americans from the sixteenth century to the present. This book not only established the model for exploration books, it also became the first popularly hand-colored exploration narrative of the Renaissance era. These are among Dr Tise’s findings as he researched hand-colored copies of Harriot’s book around the world and worked with the great art house Taschen to publish in 2019 Theodore de Bry—America: The Complete Plates, 1590-1602 (published simultaneously in English, French, and German).

Read more here: www.oriel.ox.ac.uk/about-college/news-events/events/thomas-harriot-lecture-thomas-harriot-and-creation-americas-first