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'View of Adventure Bay, Van Dieman's [sic] Land, New Holland'


Object connections:

User collections Captain Cook's Third Voyage by NMMCollections
Gallery locationNot on display
EventsExploration: Cook's Third Voyage, 1776

Object details:

Object ID PAH0145
Description Inscribed, as title, in the lower margin and signed and dated by the artist below the image l.r, 'W: Ellis fect 1777'. Adventure Bay, in south-west Tasmania, was Cook's first landfall after crossing the southern Indian Ocean from Cape Town, early in his third voyage to the Pacific, 1776-80. He was aiming for Ship Cove in New Zealand's Cook Strait but was obliged to go in there for repairs after 'Resolution's' fore-topmast and main top-gallant had been damaged in a gale. That ship is shown at anchor on the left, apparently repaired, with the slightly smaller 'Discovery' in which Ellis was surgeon's mate to the right. Adventure Bay had been named by Tobias Furneaux, who commanded the 'Adventure' on Cook's second voyage (1772-75) and had been the first British navigator to put in there after becoming temporarily separated from Cook during their eastward Indian Ocean passage: Cook went straight to southern New Zealand on that voyage and never learnt that Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) was an island, rather than part of the Australian mainland. This was only established after observations on the Australian side in the 1790s, by the naval surgeon George Bass, suggested there was a passage between the two. It was confirmed in 1798 when he and Lieutenant Matthew Flinders managed to circumnavigate Tasmania in the sloop 'Norfolk', sailing from Sydney. On their return there Governor John Hunter accepted Flinders's recommendation that the passage be named the Bass Strait and it soon became the usual sailing route to and from Sydney from the westward. This view is by the artistic surgeon's mate of 'Discovery' and is one of ten by him in the collection (PAH0144-PAH0153). It is no 3.9 in Joppien and Smith's catalogue of the art of Cook's voyages (vol. III [1988]) and a version of the practically identical 3.8, then noted as in private hands in Australia. Notes by Captain Fuller on the back observe that the view of the east side of Adventure Bay in the official account of Cook's third voyage (vol 1, pl. 9, p. 117) may have been taken from the present drawing - or presumably the other version. For notes on Ellis see PAH0144. [PvdM 9/18]
Date made 1777

Artist/Maker Ellis, William Wade
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Presented by Captain A. W. F. Fuller through The Art Fund
Materials watercolour, with graphite
Measurements Sheet: 206 x 473 mm; Mount: 482 mm x 633 mm
  • 'View of Adventure Bay, Van Dieman's [sic] Land, New Holland' (PAH0145)
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