Welcome to Classical Images!
Description:This finely engraved original antique copper-plate print* of a Possum of Van Diemens Land or Tasmania was engraved by Robert Benard (fl 1750-85) and was published in the 1785 French edition of Cooks Voyages of Discovery to the South Pacific.
Cook's First Voyage (1768-1771) The first voyage under Captain James Cook's command was primarily of a scientific nature. The expedition on the Endeavour initially sailed to Tahiti to observe the transit of the planet Venus in order to calculate the earth's distance from the sun. Cook landed on the South Pacific island in April of 1769 and in June of that year the astronomical observations were successfully completed. In addition to these labors, very good relations with the Tahitians were maintained and the naturalists Joseph Banks and Daniel C. Solander conducted extensive ethnological and botanical research. Another purpose of the voyage was to explore the South Seas to determine if an inhabitable continent existed in the mid-latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere. Upon leaving Tahiti, Cook named and charted the Society Islands and then continued southwest to New Zealand. His circumnavigation and exploration of that country also resulted in a detailed survey. Cook proceeded to Australia, where he charted the eastern coast for 2,000 miles, naming the area New South Wales. As a result of these surveys, both Australia and New Zealand were annexed by Great Britain. In addition to these explorations, the Endeavour returned to England without a single death from scurvy among its men, an historic feat at the time. The combination of these accomplishments brought Cook prominence, promotion, and the opportunity to lead further expeditions.
Cook's Second Voyage (1772-1775) Based on the success of his first voyage, Cook was appointed by the Admiralty to lead a second expedition. Two ships were employed with Cook commanding the Resolution and Captain Tobias Furneaux in charge of the Adventure. The purpose was to circumnavigate the globe as far south as possible to confirm the location of a southern continent. Cook proved that there was no "Terra Australis," which supposedly was located between New Zealand and South America. Cook was convinced, however, that there was land beyond the southern ice fields. In his pursuit of this idea, this expedition was the first European voyage to cross the Antarctic Circle. In addition, in two great sweeps through the Southern latitudes, Cook made an incredible number of landfalls including New Zealand, Easter Island, the Marquesas, Tahiti and the Society Islands, the Tonga Islands, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia, and a number of smaller islands. In addition to these navigational accomplishments and the accompanying expansion of geographical knowledge, the expedition also recorded a vast amount of information regarding the Pacific islands and peoples, proved the value of the chronometer as an instrument for calculating longitude, and improved techniques for preventing scurvy.
Cook's Third Voyage (1776-1779) In the course of his first two voyages, Cook circumnavigated the globe twice, sailed extensively into the Antarctic, and charted coastlines from Newfoundland to New Zealand. Following these achievements, Cook's third voyage was organized to seek an efficient route from England to southern and eastern Asia that would not entail rounding the Cape of Good Hope. The search for such a Northwest (or Northeast) Passage had been on the agenda of northern European mariners and merchants since the beginning of European expansion in the late fifteenth century. England's growing economic and colonial interests in India in the later eighteenth century provided the stimulus for the latest exploration for this route. Cook, again in command of the Resolution, was to approach the Northwest Passage from the Pacific accompanied by a second ship, the Discovery, captained by Charles Clerke. The ships left England separately, regrouped at Cape Town, and continued on to Tasmania, New Zealand, and Tahiti. The expedition then sailed north and made landfall at Christmas Island and the Hawaiian Islands. Cook continued northward and charted the west coast of North America from Northern California as far as the Bering Strait. He returned to Hawaii for the winter and was killed in a skirmish with natives on February 14, 1779. Upon Cook's death, Clerke took command of the expedition but died six months later. The ships returned to England in 1780 under John Gore, who had commanded the Discovery after Cook's death. From start to finish, the voyage had lasted more than four years. (Ref Tooley; M&B; Clancy)
General Description: Paper thickness and quality: - Light and stable Paper color: - off white Age of map color: - Colors used: - General color appearance: - Paper size: - 10in x 8in (255mm x 205mm) Plate size: - 9 1/2in x 7in (245mm x 180mm) Margins: - 1/2in (10mm)
Imperfections: Margins: - None Plate area: - None Verso: - None