|[London: Printed for Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange; and Sherwood, Neely, & Jones, Paternoster Row, 1819]
|Image 52 x 42 mm, Sheet 234 x 138 mm
A miniature portrait of Captain Cook, from "The Biographical Magazine; Containing Portraits of Eminent and Ingenious Persons of every age and nation, with their lives and characters".
William Holl (1807- 1871) was an English artist, portrait and figure engraver.
Captain James Cook (1728-1779) was a British navigator who wanted not only wanted to go 'farther than any man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go'. He worked as a farmer in his birthplace of Yorkshire until he was seventeen years old and won an apprenticeship with a merchant sailing company. Instead of becoming a captain at this company, he decided to enlist in the British Royal Navy as a new recruit in 1755. Once again he quickly rose through the ranks and he got the opportunity to become captain of his own ship. Because he was an excellent mapmaker, he was send on three expeditions between 1769 and 1779 to discover, explore and map unknown territories such as the "Great Southern Continent" and the Northwest Passage in the Artic. He was the first to sail along the eastern coast of Australia, discovered that New Zealand was an island, and mapped parts of the world unknown to Europeans including the upper coast of Canada, Alaska, and Tahiti. His landing on Hawaii in 1779 coincided with a festival for the Hawaiian god Lono, so that for a brief period of time the natives believed Cook to be their god. He and his crew mates accepted all the food and gifts, but when one of Cook's men died from a stroke, the natives realised the strange white men were not immortal and animosity rose between the two groups. When a small cutter ship was stolen by the natives, Cook went ashore to try and take the native King hostage. Panicked ensued when the natives tried to defend their leader and where shot by one of the ships cannons. Cook was unable to flee and was attacked, eventually stabbed to death by a knife he himself had offered the natives as a gift. After his death, the natives handled his corpse as they would have a king's, cutting away and roasting the flesh, but preserving skull, bones and hands, which were eventually given to Captain Clerke and returned to England.
Condition: Miniature oval portrait on full sheet. Biography of Captain Cook underneath the image. Minor overall time toning, mainly to the edges of the sheet.