A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's Ship, the Endeavour…. COOK: FIRST VOYAGE, Sydney PARKINSON.
A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's Ship, the Endeavour…
A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's Ship, the Endeavour…
A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's Ship, the Endeavour…

A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's Ship, the Endeavour…
A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's Ship, the Endeavour…

London: S. Parkinson, 1773.

Quarto, with frontispiece portrait, a map and 26 plates; a large and attractive copy, top edge gilt, others completely uncut, finely bound in full speckled tan calf.

The artist's account of Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti, including magnificent portraits of Maori warriors

First edition: a large, uncut copy of this splendid account of Cook's first voyage by the expedition's talented artist, published from his drawings and papers after his premature death on the voyage home. This is the most handsome of the unofficial accounts of Cook's first voyage. Twelve of the 27 plates in the book relate to New Zealand; the portraits of Maori warriors were the first visual record of the physiognomy, tattoo patterning, dress and ornament of Maori to be seen in Europe.

First edition: a large, uncut copy of this splendid account of Cook's first voyage by the expedition's talented artist, published from his drawings and papers after his premature death on the voyage home. This is the most handsome of the unofficial accounts of Cook's first voyage. Twelve of the 27 plates in the book relate to New Zealand; the portraits of Maori warriors were the first visual record of the physiognomy, tattoo patterning, dress and ornament of Maori to be seen in Europe.

Parkinson, the son of a Quaker brewer of Edinburgh, was apprenticed to a draper when his ability for drawing 'flowers, fruits and other objects of natural history' first attracted the attention of Sir Joseph Banks. Banks engaged him as botanical artist on the Endeavour voyage, and he went on to produce an important series of magnificent botanical and natural history drawings of Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia, and was the first professional artist to set foot on Australian soil. Near the end of the voyage, en route from Batavia to the Cape of Good Hope, he died of a fever.

His manuscripts and drawings became a matter of dispute: Banks considered that they were his, while Parkinson's brother Stanfield claimed them under the provisions of his brother's will. When Hawkesworth learned of the impending publication of this work, he got an injunction to try to delay its appearance until well after his official account, and retaliated by deliberately omitting Parkinson's name from the narrative: even the botanical illustrations in the official account have no credit to the artist.

Parkinson was responsible for the original drawings for twenty-three of the twenty-seven plates here. His original artwork and these splendid engravings made from it represent one of the chief visual sources for Cook's first voyage, and one of the first demonstrations European observers had of such South Pacific scenes. His journal of the voyage is plain and unaffected, and in the words of its editor 'its only ornament is truth, and its best recommendation characteristic of himself, its genuine simplicity'. His journal also has some of the earliest natural history observations on the region, and contains the first published use of the word kangaroo (as "kangooroo", p. 149).

When Parkinson drew the kangaroo he noted that 'In gathering plants today I myself had the good fortune to see the beast so much talked of, tho but imperfectly; he was not only like a grey hound in size and running but had a long tail… what to liken him to I could not tell…' (Endeavour River, 27 June, 1770). Six weeks later, on 4 August while still at Endeavour River, Cook recorded that '…the Animal which I have before mentioned is called by the natives Kangooroo or Kanguru'.

Parkinson was also interested in drawing the Australian Aborigines but, as was well documented by both Cook and Banks, contact with them was extremely difficult. Banks wrote that 'upon every other occasion both these and everywhere else they behaved alike, shunning us and giving up any part of the countrey which we landed upon at once…'. It was Parkinson though who managed to develop the best relationships with the indigenous people throughout the Pacific. His ability to do this may have had to do with his Quaker upbringing; as an artist too he needed to develop cordial relationships in order to best achieve his artistic ambitions. His depictions of the natives of New Holland were the first such drawings to be done by Europeans.

Provenance: William Charles De Mefun, Earl Fitzwilliam, with bookplate.

Bagnall, 4466; Beaglehole, I, pp. ccliii-cclv; Beddie, 712; Davidson, 'A Book Collector's Notes', pp. 54-56; Hill, 1308; Hocken, p. 12; Holmes, 7; Kroepelien, 944; O'Reilly-Reitman, 371.

Price (AUD): $14,850.00  other currencies     Ref: #4210131

Condition Report