Catalog Archive
Auction 194, Lot 684

"Carta dell' Ultimo Viaggio del Capitano Kook", La Harpe, Jean Francis de

Subject: Pacific Ocean

Period: 1785 (circa)

Publication: De Storia dei Viaggi di Cook

Color: Black & White

13.3 x 13.6 inches
33.8 x 34.5 cm
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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 elegantly engraved map comes from an Italian edition of La Harpe's account of the Cook voyages. It focuses on the third voyage, delineating Cook's track through the Pacific. Australia is shown as Nuova Olanda, with a conjectural southern coastline that connects Van Diemen's Land to the mainland. The Stretto di Cook is identified between the two islands of New Zealand. There are scattered place names along the western coast of North America, and there is nice detail around Alaska. At the northernmost extent of the map, there is an illustration of Monti di Ghiaccio (Ice Mountains). The location of Cook's death is noted in Hawaii.

References: Perry & Prescott #1785.09.

Condition: A

A crisp impression issued folding on a bright sheet with the watermarks of "Real VG" and a coat of arms. There is very minor soiling.

Estimate: $325 - $400

Sold for: $230

Closed on 9/13/2023