Captain James Cook (1728-1779) is best known for his three voyages to the Pacific (1768-71; 1772-75; and 1776-79). His discoveries radically changed the western understanding of the world in the late 18th century. He was the first to circumnavigate and chart New Zealand and provided the earliest European accounts of exploration along the eastern coast of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands. On February 14th, 1779, he was killed on Hawaii after attempting to kidnap the chief of the island.
Many contemporary accounts of Cook’s voyages, including charts and engravings, appeared in the late 18th century. The first official account of Cook’s first voyage was published in 1773 by John Hawkesworth in Volumes II and III of An Account of the Voyages Undertaken by the Order of His Present Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere... William Strahan and Thomas Cadell published the first official accounts of the second and third voyages in 1777 and 1784. Accounts of his exploration were subsequently translated into French, German, and Dutch.
This is a handsome lot of four engravings from Kamtschatka, drawn by John Webber, a young artist who accompanied Captain James Cook on his third voyage to the Pacific in 1776-1780. The first depicts a man traveling in a sleigh pulled by huskies, the native Siberian dogs, across a snow covered landscape in winter. It was engraved by S. Middiman. The other three were engraved by Benard and show the typical summer and winter dwellings found in Kamtschatka, a native woman, and a native man. Webber, who was fascinated with the natives and their habitations, took the opportunity to draw them whenever Cook's ships anchored in harbors throughout the Pacific and Pacific Northwest. The maps were published in the official account of Cook's Third Voyage, with the second, third, and fourth engravings appearing in the French edition (Troisieme Voyage de Cook, ou Voyage a l'Ocean Pacifique…).
A. A Man of Kamtschatka, Travelling in Winter, (15.0 x 8.8"). Condition: A fine impression on watermarked paper with one insignificant surface abrasion. (A)
B. Habitations d'Ete et d'Hiver du Kamtchatka, (14.3 x 9.0"). Condition: Even toning with a few small spots and an archivally repaired tear at top center that just enters neatline. (B)
C. Une Femme du Kamtchatka, (6.8 x 8.9"). Condition: A nice impression with a few minor spots in the image and marginal soiling and toning. (A)
D. Homme du Kamtchatka, (6.8 x 8.9"). Condition: Watermarked paper with a couple negligible spots and marginal soiling. (A)