A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Undertaken by Command of his Majesty, for making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere…. COOK: THIRD VOYAGE, James COOK, James KING.
A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Undertaken by Command of his Majesty, for making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere…
A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Undertaken by Command of his Majesty, for making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere…
A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Undertaken by Command of his Majesty, for making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere…
A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Undertaken by Command of his Majesty, for making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere…
A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Undertaken by Command of his Majesty, for making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere…
A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Undertaken by Command of his Majesty, for making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere…

A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean…
A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Undertaken by Command of his Majesty, for making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere…

London: Printed by W. and A. Strahan, for G. Nicol... and T. Cadell, 1784.

Three volumes, quarto, and an atlas, folio, with altogether 87 engraved plates and maps, of which 63 appear in the atlas; contemporary diced russia leather, flat spines gilt in compartments with a complex design, black leather lettering pieces and round crimson numbering-pieces within dark green labels; the atlas volume in a neat modern binding of half calf and marbled boards.

The superb official narrative of Cook's third voyage

First edition of the official account of Cook's last voyage. This is a good set of this tremendous publication, the detailed narrative of the voyage extensively illustrated with beautiful engravings after John Webber, and so popular at the time that copies were sometimes literally read to pieces. "A magnificent summation of all the public and private journals, logs, drawings and other observations made during the voyage, and… as important a record of the exploration of the North Pacific as Cook's first two voyages had been for the South Pacific. It is in fact one of the most important English books published in the last quarter of the eighteenth century…" (Forbes).

First edition of the official account of Cook's last voyage. This is a good set of this tremendous publication, the detailed narrative of the voyage extensively illustrated with beautiful engravings after John Webber, and so popular at the time that copies were sometimes literally read to pieces. "A magnificent summation of all the public and private journals, logs, drawings and other observations made during the voyage, and… as important a record of the exploration of the North Pacific as Cook's first two voyages had been for the South Pacific. It is in fact one of the most important English books published in the last quarter of the eighteenth century…" (Forbes).

The Resolution and Discovery made an enormous sweep throughout the Pacific, calling at Tasmania, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Tonga and Tahiti before heading north and making famous landfall at the Hawaiian islands, which Cook named the Sandwich Islands in honour of his patron. After exploring the Northwest coast of America and returning to Hawaii, Cook was killed in the notorious skirmish ashore. Command passed to Clerke, and, after his death, to John Gore. The shocking news of the explorer's death reached England through overland reports from the Russian Pacific coast some months before the ships themselves returned. It marked the end of an age, and the beginning of another that would feature a number of the men who had been aboard the Cook voyage: among them Bligh, Vancouver, and Colnett.

Unlike the official narratives of the first two Cook voyages, this was planned as a grander publication with the three text volumes containing some of the lesser illustrations but the 63 more important illustrations and maps appearing on a large scale in the separate folio-sized atlas volume. The result does justice to John Webber's superb visualisations of the Pacific. Webber was the official artist on the voyage: his romantic views remain the most evocative of all early portrayals of the islands, and helped to foster the notion of island paradise that so affected an European public eagerly reading the voyages of discovery being published in the eighteenth century.

The full story of the voyage, including the narrative of Cook's murder at Kealakekua Bay, was so eagerly awaited by the English public that the entire first edition was sold out within three days, at the then huge price of four pounds fourteen shillings and sixpence, and copies were soon changing hands at up to ten guineas.

Provenance: Robert Baker (early signature in volume 1), possibly the Baker whose books were sold by Sotheby in 1855 and whose copy of the Cook second voyage atlas is in the Dixson Library, State Library of New South Wales; H. Mackenzie-Begg, with his small bookplate in each volume.

Beddie, 1552; Forbes, 'Hawaiian National Bibliography', 85; Hawaii One Hundred, 5; Hill, 361; O'Reilly-Reitman, 434.

Price (AUD): $18,500.00  other currencies     Ref: #4401862

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