London: John Webber, 1788-92 & 1809 (1820). The extremely rare life time edition was self-published by Webber and Sir Maurice Holmes states in his "Captain James Cook RN FRS, A Bibliographical Excursion" (1952) that the original drawings were "etched and coloured by himself". Soft ground etching tinted in brown and grey wash; Holmes suggests colored by Webber himself. J. Webber fecit. 1788. London Pubd. Augt. 1, 1788 by J. Webber No. 312 Oxford Street. Vide Cook's Last Voyage Vol. 3 Chap. XI . "1 Augt. 1788' penciled in the lower right margin, "Pl. 12." in the top right, likely by Webber himself. Impression mark 17 1/2 x 12 13/16"; 445 x 325 mm, with margins. With some light toning at edges o/w very good condition. Paper watermarked "Whatman" but without a date. Joppien & Smith 3.372B.a.
the Boydell issue, London. Pubd. April 1, 1809 by Boydell & Compy. No. 90 Cheapside. Vide Cook's Last Voyage Vol. 3 Chap. XI. Impression mark 450 x 323 mm with margins, 500 x 365 mm. Plate 12 engraved in the top left corner. Colored aquatint. With light foxing in the margins and some offsetting from the accompanying text page, which is drawn from the published account of the voyage. No watermark on the print, but the letterpress is watermarked C. Wilmott 1819. Joppien & Smith 3.372B.b.
Webber was engaged as the official artist for Cook's third voyage, during which Cook discovered Hawaii & Alaska. Webber was more fully trained than any of the artists of the previous voyages, and he and Cook worked closely together to illuminate "the unavoidable imperfections of written accounts, by enabling us to preserve, and to bring home, such drawings of the most memorable scenes of our transactions, as could only be expected by a professed and skilled artist." (J. Cook & J. King, Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, London 1784, Vol I, p.5). Because he was there with Cook in the field, his paintings "constituted a new visual source for the study of history..." (Smith, Bernard, Art as Information. Sydney, 1978). Cook's ships were the first Western contact with the natives of Nootka Sound and the furs they traded with them were sold at a vast profit in Macao in the following year, 1779. Soon American and English ships were making annual trips to the Northwest Coast in search of "Sea Beaver" pelts.
Only 16 views were published in the book - the two views of Macao indicate its significance in the East. Item #14184