Captain James Cook (1728-1779)

Think that you may own a portrait of Captain James Cook? We authenticate, appraise and issue Certificates of Authenticity (COA) for all portraits of Captain Cook.

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Captain James Cook by Nathanial Dance (1775)

Captain James Cook was an English explorer, navigator and cartographer. Ultimately rising to the rank of Captain in the Royal Navy, Cook was the first to map Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean during which he achieved the first European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia, the European discovery of the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.

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Captain James Cook by John Webber, also called Bocklow's Webber Portrait (1776)

After service in the British merchant navy as a teenager, Cook joined the Royal Navy in 1755. He saw action in the Seven Years' War, and subsequently surveyed and mapped much of the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River during the siege of Quebec. This allowed General Wolfe to make his famous stealth attack on the Plains of Abraham, and helped to bring Cook to the attention of the Admiralty and Royal Society. This notice came at a crucial moment both in his personal career and in the direction of British overseas discovery, and led to his commission in 1766 as commander of HM Bark Endeavour for the first of three Pacific voyages.

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Captain James Cook by John Webber

Cook accurately charted many areas and recorded several islands and coastlines on Europeans' maps for the first time. His achievements can be attributed to a combination of seamanship, superior surveying and cartographic skills, courage in exploring dangerous locations to confirm the facts (for example dipping into the Antarctic circle repeatedly and exploring around the Great Barrier Reef), an ability to lead men in adverse conditions, and boldness both with regard to the extent of his explorations and his willingness to exceed the instructions given to him by the Admiralty. Cook died in Hawaii in a fight with Hawaiians during his third exploratory voyage in the Pacific in 1779.

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Captain James Cook, Italian Portrait

Cook was accompanied by the artist William Hodges on a number of his voyages, and today, his existent paintings are rare and highly sought after. One such painting is a portrait of the captain, shown below:

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Captain James Cook by William Hodges

It was said that many of Hodges portraits of Cook were in fact painted by natives of the lands that they explored (this rumor has since been discredited). This particular painting was lost until 1986 when it was discovered amongst a lot of paintings and was a previously unrecorded portrait of the explorer. Cook was one of the most beloved European explorers of all time, and for a new portrait of the captain to surface in recent years was a great find indeed.

Could that mysterious portrait hanging in your study in fact be a lost portrait by Hodges, or even one of the notorious captain himself? Contact us…it could be a portrait of Captain James Cook.