Circa 1767. Disbound. The image of this hand-colored engraving measures 7” x 8.5”; the leaf measures 9” x 13”. In addition to the title, the leaf is also identified as “Patagons 215.” It is in very nice shape with light toning and some variation in margins where it appears the print was once matted. There is a small chip at the upper left corner, and an indistinct pencil note at upper left corner of the reverse. Very good. Item #008996
This is quite a handsome print showing a European officer meeting with a giant Patagonian chief. Accounts of the giant race of people who lived in what is now Argentina and Chile first appeared in a handwritten account of Magellan’s around the world voyage of 1522 by Antonio Pigafetta: “One day we suddenly saw a naked man of giant stature on the shore of the port, dancing, singing, and throwing dust on his head. The captain-general [i.e., Magellan] sent one of our men to the giant so that he might perform the same actions as a sign of peace.” Over the years their existence was ‘confirmed’ by Sir Francis Drake, Anthony Knivet, and William Adams. In 1766, it was initially reported that Commodore John Byron and the crew of HMS Dolphin had seen a tribe of 9-foot-tall natives in Patagonia, however when the report of the voyage was revised in 1773, their average height was reported to be only 6’ 6”, quite tall but not giants. Byron’s encounter was likely with the Aónikenk or Tehuelche people. This image was reportedly inspired by Byron’s initial report of his encounter with the ‘giants’ of Patagoina in his Account of a Voyage Round the World recording his meeting the ‘giants’ of Patagonia. It also appears (with the title simplified to “The Patagonians”) in the 1771 English edition of Pernety’s The history of a voyage to the Malouine (or Falkland) Islands, made in 1763 and 1764, under the command of M. de Bougainville. . .