Maggs Bros Ltd

An Authentic Narrative of a Voyage performed by Captain Cook

ELLIS, William (1783.)

£6000.00 

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and Captain Clerke in His Majesty's Ships Resolution and Discovery, during the Years 1776... 1780 in Search of a North West Passage Between the continents of Asia and America. Including a faithful account of all their Discoveries, and the unfortunate Death of Captain Cook. Second edition. Folding map & 21 engraved plates, with an additional 4 plates (incl. a portrait of Cook) inserted. 8vo. Unrestored contemporary calf, with red & green morocco labels to spines, a little worn. [xi], 358, [1]; [viii], 347pp. London,

The additional plates, the titles of which have all been added in a contemporary hand to the "Directions for placeing the Cuts" are as follows: "A Man of Mangea" [with] "A Woman of Mangea", "Poulaho King of the Friendly Islands" [with] "The Opossum", "A Views of Huaheine", "Captain James Cook F.R.S." It would seem likely that they were inserted by one Elizabeth Shelly who has signed her name in the upper margin of the half title to volume one and the title page of volumes two, with the date 1817, since the handwriting is similar to that used on the "Direction..."

Ellis was a surgeon's mate during Cook's third voyage, first on the Discovery and later on the Resolution, and gives quite a good history of this expedition. This account was published two years before the official narrative" (Hill). Ellis was also an amateur artist of some skill and the illustrations in this book are after his own drawings, and include eight of Hawaii, two of Alaska and three of the Northwest Coast.

Cook's third voyage began in July 1776 and concentrated on the North Pacific. His death on 14th February, 1779, overshadowed the two most important achievements of the voyage: the discovery of Hawaii, which Cook considered to be his greatest feat, and the disproval of the theory of a North East passage. With him travelled George Vancouver who later charted the North West Coast of America and also the artist John Webber who provided Europe with many of the popular contemporary images of the Pacific. Hill 556; Forbes (Hawaiian Nat. Bib.), 49.

Stock Code: 198240