The Collection

Your selection



Buy this image Add this to a collection
View this item in the library Share or embed this object  

The Death of Captain Cook (untitled)


Object connections:

User collections Captain Cook's Third Voyage by NMMCollections
Death of Captain Cook by NMMCollections
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleDepiction: Cook, James

Object details:

Object ID PAF4642
Description This appears to be an unlettered and not quite finished proof state of the print first offically published, with a dedication to the Admiralty, on 1 January 1784 (see PAI2628, no image): PAF6417 is a July 1785 reprint and PAF4641 one of July 1814. The voyage's official artist, John Webber, was on board Cook's ship 'Resolution' , anchored offshore, when Cook was killed in Hawaii on 14 February 1779. This is the most accurate of the pictures of the incident because Webber had first-hand descriptions of the event from the survivors but also saw it happen, although only distantly. The tourist Dorothy Richardson visited his London studio in 1785 when 'He told [us] that he was an unfortunate spectator of Capt. Cooks untimely end, for happening to be on deck, & seeing a bustle on the shore he caught up a Telescope, & saw the death stroke given; he spoke of the affair with great emotion; but wou'd not say, what caus'd the quarrel with the Natives, nor I am told will any of the officers talk of it....' (Hugh Belsey, 'Some artists' studios described in 1785', in 'Windows on that World: Essays on British Art presented to Brian Allen' [Yale. U.P. 2012] p. 124, citing Richardson's journal in the John Rylands University Library, Manchester). After the tragedy the expedition continued to the Asiatic side of the Bering Sea, finally returning to England in October 1780.
Date made circa 1783

Artist/Maker Webber, John
Bartolozzi, Francesco
Byrne, William
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials engraving
Measurements Sheet: 310 x 410 mm; Mount: 405 mm x 557 mm
  • The Death of Captain Cook (untitled) (PAF4642)
    Help us

    Do you know more about this?

    Share your knowledge