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Description found in Archives
Collection consists of
Place of creation
10 drawings: some pencil, some charcoal and chalk, some pencil and chalk; various dimensions.
3 watercolours: pencil and watercolour wash; various dimensions.
Language of material
Scope and content
Collection consists of three bound volumes of original drawings, engravings, and charts relating to and documenting the three voyages of Captain James Cook of the British Admiralty to the South Pacific in 1768-1771, 1772-1775, and 1776-1780. These voyages were intended to observe the transit of Venus, and to explore for new territory, discover Terra Australis or the Southern continent, and finally, to seek out the western outlet of the Northwest Passage. During the 3rd voyage, Cook explored the northwest coast of America, and was killed during a skirmish with natives in the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands in 1779. Vol. I (80 folio pages) has 91 proof engravings and etchings, including 4 engraved portraits of Captain James Cook, three after Nathaniel Dance, and one after John Webber; 27 after Alexander Buchan and others, which relate to the first voyage from 1768-1771, which were published in: Account of the voyage ... London, 1773; and 60 after William Hodges (1744-1797), Nathaniel Dance, and Giovanni Cipriani, which relate to the 2nd voyage of Captain Cook in 1772-1775, and published in: Account of the voyage ... London, 1777. Vol. II (69 folio pages) includes 72 proof engravings after John Webber (1752-1793) relating to Captain Cook's 3rd voyage 1776-1780, which were published in: Account of the voyage ... London, 1785. Vol. III (64 folio pages) includes 2 charts and 62 proof engravings after John Webber relating to Captain Cook's 3rd voyage published in: Account of the voyage ... London, 1785; 1 proof print of the Portrait of Omai after an original drawing of Omai by Nathaniel Dance; the original drawing of Omai by Nathaniel Dance; 5 original drawings by William Hodges; 1 original drawing by Giovanni Cipriani (1727-1785); and 3 drawings and 3 watercolours by John Webber. Two other drawings originally in Vol. III were deaccessioned and presented to the National Library of Australia in 1968 on the occasion of its opening. These drawings (formerly listed as Webber I-8 and Webber I-14 in the Public Archives' collection) were entitled: A View of a fa'itoka, or Burying Ground (National Library of Australia acc. no. 3994) and A Ceremonial Ground in Tongataboo (National Library of Australia acc. no. 3995) The following has been further noted by Douglas Schoenherr: In vol. I, the proofs before letters of the first voyage include many with pencil inscriptions across the bottom, sometimes cropped off at the bottom edge and usually beginning with the words "First voyage ..." followed by the title and the corresponding volume and page number in the text. The proofs are usually mounted on the recto, once or twice on a verso, and are sometimes accompanied by another state of the print. Vol. I also includes engraved portraits of Cook after Dance, Webber, and Hodges. The set of proofs from the second voyage are usually after letters but before numbers, and are usually mounted on a recto; some on larger sheets appear to be sewn into the binding. There are some earlier states before letters with inscriptions in pencil across the bottom, usually beginning with the words "Second voyage ..." and often with the corresponding volume and page number. Schoenherr also notes the contents of Vol. II as follows: Proofs of the oval engraved portraits of Captains Cook and King after Webber, printed in sepia and both inscribed in pen and grey ink, along bottom of platemark: Publis'd as the Act directs by J. Webber No 312 Oxford St. June 4th 1784; a set of proofs before letters from the third voyage, with pencil inscriptions along the bottom beginning "Last voyage ..."; only occasionally is there more than one state of the same print; an unfinished state of the Death of Cook after Webber; and a proof of the same print before letters. Dr. Schoenherr describes Vol. III as follows: engraved portraits of Cook after Webber and Dance; fols. 2-8 contained the original drawings, mounted on both rectos and versos (5 by Hodges, 8 by Webber, 1 by Cipriani, and 1 by Dance). The drawings have all been removed from the folio pages, but in certain cases one can see where a drawing was formerly mounted from its offset on the opposite page. It appears that at least two folio pages were removed from the volume, perhaps at the same time the drawings were removed, with the result that one cannot completely reconstruct the original order of the drawings in the folio. No list was made when they were removed, an operation which occurred at an unknown date. Vol. III also contains two copies of the Death of Cook, after Webber; and a proof set of the maps and charts from the three voyages, some with pencil inscriptions along the bottom.
Conditions of access
Physical access through an art archivist
Credit: Library and Archives Canada.
Item-level descriptions online in MIKAN. 90 (Electronic)
Found in the accession file. Additional documentation in Webber artist file 705-746. 90 (Paper)
Creator / Provenance
Biography / Administrative history
James Cook, navigator and cartographer, surveyed the St. Lawrence River and the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador before exploring the Pacific Ocean. After visiting New Zealand and Australia, 1768-1771, he travelled to the South Pacific again in 1772-1775, and during his third voyage from 1776-1780, he traced the coast of western North America to the Bering Strait, in 1776. Cook died in a skirmish with the indigenous inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii) on February 14, 1779, and his expedition returned to Great Britain under the command of Captain James King.
Library and Archives Canada also owns charts of Newfoundland as well as of the St. Lawrence River which were created by Captain Cook as a part of hydrographic surveys on the Atlantic coast, and during the 1759 expedition to Quebec lead by General James Wolfe and Admiral Sir Charles Saunders.
Citation / reference note
Associated material note
The Bushnell Collection at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, owns 14 additional Webber drawings related to Cook's Voyages, while original works by all of Cook's artists are to be found in many institutions around the world. A portrait of captain Cook by Nathaniel dance is in the National Maritime Museum in London, while a second portrait by John Webber is held by National Portrait Gallery in Australia.
Discovery and exploration - North Pacific Ocean - Maps.
Related control no.
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