Study of a Jay

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Jacques le Moyne de Morgues (c. 1533–1588) accompanied the French expedition of Jean Ribault and René Laudonnière. Ribault explored the mouth of the St. Johns River in Florida and erected a stone monument there before leading the party north and establishing a settlement on Parris Island, South Carolina. He then sailed back to France for supplies while Laudonnière took charge of the colony. Finding conditions unfavorable on Parris Island, Laudonnière and the others eventually moved back to Florida where they founded Fort Caroline on the St. Johns Bluff.
The good relations initially established with the Indian tribes inhabiting the territories around the settlement site at St. Johns soon soured, in addition to which various members of the French party became disaffected, and revolted against their leaders. The final coup de grâce came a year later, when a Spanish force from the Spanish colony of St. Augustine thirty miles to the south, attacked Laudonniere’s stronghold at Fort Caroline. The Spanish, under the leadership of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, stormed the colony and killed most of the Huguenots, though Laudonnière, Le Moyne and about two dozen others escaped and were eventually rescued to England. Having lost their way on the return, they sailed half starved into Swansea Bay, England in mid-November 1565, and finally reached Paris early in 1566.

All but one of Le Moyne’s original drawings were reportedly destroyed in the Spanish attack on Fort Caroline; most the images attributed to him are engravings created by the Belgian printer and publisher Theodor de Bry, which are based on recreations Le Moyne produced from memory. These reproductions, distributed by Le Moyne in printed volumes, are some of the earliest images of European colonization in the New World to be circulated, and his detailed account of the voyage, Brevis narratio eorum quae in Florida Americai provincia Gallis acciderunt, was published in 1591, and clearly indicates that it was the King who instructed the artist to accompany the expedition as official recording artist and cartographer.

He ended his career as a highly regarded botanical artist in Elizabethan London, where his patrons included Sir Walter Raleigh and Lady Mary Sidney. “The six documented works by the artist in private hands are exquisite gouaches which embody and combine in a most original manner three diverse artistic traditions: the first is that of manuscript illumination in Le Moyne’s native France; the second is the recording of exotic and native flora, fauna and cultures, which was the artistic expression of the late sixteenth-century fascination with exploration and scientific investigation; and the third is the purely aesthetic love of flowers and gardens which was so apparent in Elizabethan court culture.”

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[Jerald T. Milanich: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerald_T._Milanich]

 

 

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. what a sad loss to us…

  2. Such an exquisite slice of history. Thank you.


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