The collection consists of sixty-nine (69) facsimiles of sixty-seven (67) watercolor drawings made by or associated with John White. The reproductions were created by Charles Praetorius by photographing the drawings, and subsequently bleaching and hand coloring the images. The drawings come from two sources in the British Museum: John White album (see British Museum Number 1906,0509.1.1 and a version of the John White album known as the Sloan album (see British Museum Number SL,5270.1-113). The original drawings date from 1585-1593, and are some of the earliest European depictions of the flora, fauna, and peoples of the Americas.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or National Anthropological Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.
Charles Praetorius was a print-maker and photographer. Born in Vienna, he was employed by the British Musem to make photographs of works in the Museum and make photographs of prints and drawings in other British collections.
John White (circa 1539 – circa 1593) was an English colonial governor, explorer, artist, and cartographer. White served as artist and mapmaker for Richard Grenville's expedition to colonize Roanoke Island in 1585. He later served as the governor of the second attempt to found Roanoke Colony on the same island in 1587 and discovered the colonists had mysteriously vanished.