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A French edition of Cleveley’s famous ‘Death of Cook’ scene

Stock No. 20359 Category: Tags: , , Cartographer: CLEVELEY, James & John.

Mort du Capitaine Cook.
Paris: Bance ainé, c.1790. Aquatint with fine hand colour. 495 x 660mm.

£5,000

In stock

A view of Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii, with Captain James Cook standing on the beach, beset by warriors and about to be stabbed in the back. Cook's crew fire from longboats, and the 'Resolution' and 'Discovery' fire their cannon. Underneath is an extract from Cook's journal in French.
This aquatint is one of four etched by Benedikt Piringer (1780-1826) after a set of scenes of the Third Voyage published by Thomas Martyn in 1787-8. According to the original prospectus, were ''executed by the late celebrated Mr John Clevely, from accurate Drawings made by his Brother Mr James Clevely of the Resolution Ship of War''. The English titles of the set are: 'View of Huahine one of the Society Islands'; 'View of Morea one of the Friendly Islands'; 'View of Charlotte Sound in New Zealand'; and 'View of Owhyhee one of the Sandwich Islands' (this plate).
James Cleveley (not 'Clevely' as in the prospectus) was the Resolution's ship's carpenter but, despite being from a family of artists, none of the third voyage journals mention his as a draughtsman, and no original sketch of his exists. It has been suggested that his brother, John Cleveley the Younger (1747-86), who was the intermediary draughtsman (redrawing the original sketches for engraving) for the Official Account of the Second Voyage, used his friendship with Sir Joseph Banks to study John Webber's artwork and use them as the basis of his prints. Using his brother's participation in the voyage he could capitalise on the public interest with 'authentic' scenes.

Additional information

Dimensions 660 × 495 mm
Cartographer

Date

1790

Extra Info

Mort du Capitaine Cook.

Publication

Paris: Bance ainé, c.1790. Aquatint with fine hand colour. 495 x 660mm.

Condition

A good example.

References