The manner of their fishing


The manner of their fishing


A group of Indians is portrayed using fire, spears, and traps to catch fish in this watercolor painting by John White, the English artist who in 1585 accompanied a failed colonizing expedition to Roanoke Island in present-day North Carolina.

Thomas Hariot, who accompanied White and the colonists, later described how the Indians "by nighte or day [struck] fishes, and take them opp into their boates." At night, fire may have been used as bait, attracting fish to its light. White depicted a brown pelican, swans, geese, ducks, hammerhead sharks, and sturgeon, although the latter two would not normally have been found in shallow waters.


John White

Date Created

ca. 1585


The British Museum


Watercolor on graphite

Physical Dimension

13.875" x 9.25"


sixteenth century, North Carolina, Virginia