A fine pair of matching atlases to Cook’s First and Second Voyages. Whilst atlas volumes are occasionally found accompanying Cook’s First Voyage, separately bound volumes of the plates for the Second Voyage are particularly rare.
‘The first really scientific navigator’ (Hill). ‘As an explorer Cook stands equal to Vasco de Gama, Christopher Columbus and Magellan’ (Lord Lewin, 1990).
The slightly smaller atlas illustrates Cook’s First Voyage, when he was dispatched on board HMS Endeavour in 1768 to observe the transit of Venus at Tahiti. Having carried out his duties there, he sailed on to New Zealand, which he circumnavigated and surveyed, before charting the eastern coast of Australia, naming it New South Wales and claiming it for the British Crown.
On his Second Voyage, Cook was sent by the Admiralty to ascertain whether the great continent of Terra Australis really existed below the Antarctic Circle. He circumnavigated Antarctica at high latitudes and captained the first ship on record to cross the Antarctic Circle. The larger of the two atlases found here includes superb images of Cook’s ships navigating through the ice of the Antarctic.
2 volumes, landscape folio (First Voyage: 28.3 x 47.7 cm; Second Voyage: 32.7 x 51.7), contemporary calf-backed marbled boards, with red morocco label lettered in gilt to each; extremities lightly rubbed; housed within a handsome purpose-made burgundy morocco-backed drop-back box. First Voyage: 29 charts and maps (of which 10 folding), 24 engraved plates (of which 4 folding), all with particularly strong plate marks; Second Voyage: 16 numbered charts and maps (of which 5 folding), frontispiece portrait, and 47 numbered plates. Some sporadic light spotting throughout both volumes, with conservation tissue protecting each plate in both volumes.
Stock ID: 98548