||This engraving after a drawing by John Webber comes from the official account of Cook's third voyage, 'A voyage to the Pacific Ocean', published by Scatcherd and Whitaker in 1784.
Captain James Cook (1728-1779) made three separate voyages to the Pacific (with the ships Endeavour, Resolution, Adventure, and Discovery) and did more than any other voyager to explore the Pacific and Southern Ocean. Cook not only encountered Pacific cultures for the first time, but also assembled the first large-scale collections of Pacific objects to be brought back to Europe. He was killed in Hawaii in 1779.
John Webber was the artist on Cook’s third voyage from 1776-1780.
The Resolution and the Discovery visited Avacha Bay, Kamchatka between 29 April to 16 June 1779. Many of the drawings from this period show snowy scenes, especially of the town and harbour of St Peter and St Paul.
This engraving shows the manner of traveling in Kamchatka. Bare trees are surrounded by mountains and a clearing where a man is seated on a high sledge drawn by a team of five dogs.
The first sledges drawn by dogs were observed in early May in the village of Petropavlovsk. The drawing most probably refers to the journey from Petropavlovsk to Bosheretsk or during the return in which Gore, King, and Webber took part. King gives an account of the mode of sledge travelling in the Journals, but elaborates on this in the official account: ‘They [the sledges] are seldom used to carry more than one person at a time, who sits aside, resting his feet on the lower part of the sledge, and carrying his provisions and other necessaries, wrapped up in a bundle, behind him. The dogs are usually five in number, yoked, two and two with a leader. The reins not being fastened to the head of the dogs, but to the collar, have little power over them, and are generally hung upon the sledge, whilst the driver depends entirely on their obedience to his voice for the direction of them…The driver is also provided with a crooked stick, which answers the purpose both of whip and reins; as by striking it into the snow, he is enabled to moderate the speed of the dogs, or even to stop them entirely.’
This sledge, in the Russian language, is named a Sandkey.
This is the first of three such engravings.
Mounted in album with PAI4078-PAI4197, PAI4199-PAI4214.; Page 242.