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2012-04-15 01:31:08
[Cook, James]: Webber, John:
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORDS COMMISSIONERS FOR EXECUTING THE OFFICE OF LORD HIGH ADMIRAL OF GREAT BRITAIN, &c. THIS PLATE REPRESENTING THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN COOK IS HUMBLY INSCRIBED. BY THEIR LORDSHIP'S MOST OBEDIENT AND DEVOTED SERVANT, JOHN WEBBER
London: J. Webber and W. Byrne, January 1, 1784.. Engraving, the sheet measuring 19 1/2 x 24 1/4 inches; the engraved surface 16 3/4x 23 inches. Repaired closed tear in upper margin, extending 1 1/2 inches into the sky at the top of the image. Several expert repairs in margins, including some paper restoration. Good. Matted. The scarce separate printing of Webber's plate of the death of Captain James Cook at the hands of the Hawaiian natives. Dated January 1, 1784 in the imprint, it predates the publication of the account of Cook's third voyage later that same year. The plate was not formally part of the contents of the third voyage atlas, and is only occasionally found there. Beddie identifies this as the earliest state of the print. Webber was the son of a Swiss sculptor who emigrated to London, and he received artistic training in Berne and Paris. He was appointed as draughtsman to Cook's third voyage, and interviewed the eyewitnesses to the attack in order to create this image. Cook is shown trying to stop his men from firing on the Hawaiians, one of whom is about to stab him in the back. The figures were engraved by Bartolozzi, and the landscape engraved by Byrne. The Hill catalogue notes a scarce one-page folio description of the engraving, printed in English and French, which is not present here. Forbes does not list the present first printing of the plate, though he does list a 1785 printing. Scarce, and an iconic image of Pacific exploration. BEDDIE 2603. HILL 1835. FORBES HAWAII 108 (ref).
Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana
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