James Cook: The Voyages
PACCAR Gallery, British Library, London, Showing until: 28 August 2018
To mark 250 years since Captain James Cook’s ship Endeavour set sail from Plymouth, this major British Library exhibition will tell the story of Cook’s three great voyages through original documents, many of which were produced by the artists, scientists and seamen on board the ship.
From Cook’s journal detailing the first crossing of the Antarctic Circle to handwritten log books, stunning artwork and intricate maps, this exhibition will chart the three voyages, which spanned more than a decade, and shed new light on the experiences of people on the ship and in the places visited.
Drawings by the Polynesian high priest and navigator Tupaia, who joined the first voyage at Tahiti and accompanied Cook to New Zealand and Australia, will be going on public display for the first time together, alongside works by expedition artists Sydney Parkinson, John Webber and William Hodges. Tupaia’s paintings include a series of depictions of Tahitian society and culture, as well as drawings from New Zealand and Australia.
The exhibition also examines the scientific work of the expeditions and features some of the original natural history drawings made on the voyages, including the first European depiction of a kangaroo drawn by Sydney Parkinson, on loan from the Natural History Museum.
The British Library holds distinguished collections of original maps, artworks and journals from the voyages and, alongside rare printed books and newly commissioned video content, the exhibition seeks to shed new light on encounters that completed the outline of the known world and formed the starting point for the following two centuries of globalisation.
Above: Banks and a Maori by Tupaia