Catalog Archive
Auction 179, Lot 814

"A Toupapow with a Corpse on It Attended by the Chief Mourner in His Habit of Ceremony", Cook, James (Capt.)

Subject: Tanna, Vanuatu

Period: 1777 (dated)

Publication: A Voyage Towards the South Pole...

Color: Hand Color

14.9 x 8.5 inches
37.8 x 21.6 cm
New! Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

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 image shows a mourning ceremony on Tanna, Vanuatu. The deceased is covered on a raised platform, with two women mourning beneath, while the "Chief Mourner" stands to the far left in his ceremonial dress. Drawn by William Hodges, engraved by William Woollett, and published by William Strahan and Thomas Cadell.

References: Shirley (BL Atlases) G.COOK-1a.

Condition: A

A sharp impression on a sturdy sheet with minor marginal soiling.

Estimate: $120 - $150

Sold for: $75

Closed on 9/16/2020