The Death of Captain Cook, In February 1779 by the murdering Dagger of a Barbarian at Carakakooa, in one of the Sandwich Isles. He having there become a Victim to his own Humanity. The Distressing Scene, is Part of the Original Plate after Webber by Messrs Bartolozzi & Byrne. COOK: DEATH, John WEBBER, RNE.

The Death of Captain Cook…
The Death of Captain Cook, In February 1779 by the murdering Dagger of a Barbarian at Carakakooa, in one of the Sandwich Isles. He having there become a Victim to his own Humanity. The Distressing Scene, is Part of the Original Plate after Webber by Messrs Bartolozzi & Byrne.

London: Sold in Spur Street, Leicester Square, n.d. [but 1784].

Oval engraving, 350 x 265 mm. (image size). Mounted.

The very rare variant issue

Rare variant of the famous engraving of Cook's death showing, as the caption notes, "Part of the Original Plate after Webber" and presumably quite literally printed from an oval cut from the fuller engraved copper. This is only very rarely seen: the single example noted by Joppien and Smith was in the British Museum.

Rare variant of the famous engraving of Cook's death showing, as the caption notes, "Part of the Original Plate after Webber" and presumably quite literally printed from an oval cut from the fuller engraved copper. This is only very rarely seen: the single example noted by Joppien and Smith was in the British Museum.
The full-size engraving was first issued early in 1784. Based on the oil painting executed by Webber soon after he returned to London in 1780, the figures were engraved by Francesco Bartolozzi and the landscape by William Byrne. Quickly becoming the most famous of all eighteenth-century depictions of the massacre, the view appeared at about the same time as the official third voyage account was published. This was no coincidence: although lavishly illustrated by Webber, the official account did not include any depiction of the most famous scene of the entire voyage, the death of Captain Cook. As a result, the iconic engraving is often seen bound into extra-illustrated editions of the third voyage account.
Reflecting the general opinion prevailing in published accounts of the voyage, the original image, as Joppien and Smith argue, appeared to show Cook as 'an innocent victim, killed in the act of pleading for peace'. This is here heightened by the changed composition, as the oval shape dictates a radically different impact to that of the original engraving, omitting the dramatic conflict between the British sailors and the Hawaiians and thus implying a scene in which Cook, his arm raised in supplication to his men offstage, stands alone and is overwhelmed by a seething crowd.
The only copy noted among Australian holdings appears to be the heavily clipped copy in the National Library of Australia, part of the Nan Kivell collection.

Joppien & Smith, note to 3.305A; not in Beddie; not in Nan Kivell & Spence.

Price (AUD): $8,750.00  other currencies     Ref: #3603426

Condition Report