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Sydney Parkinson : artist of Cook's Endeavour voyage

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: Sydney Parkinson : artist of Cook's Endeavour voyage
Date published: 1983
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
Despite the wealth of publications which have resulted, particularly this century, from Cook's Endeavour voyage - perhaps still the most scientifically rewarding voyage of all time - the career and work of the chief artist on the voyage, the young, untravelled Sydney Parkinson, have not so far received the attention they deserve. During a period of two years and four months from the beginning of the voyage until his untimely death at the age of 26 in Javanese waters, Parkinson made some 276 finished and 676 unfinished drawings of plants, 83 finished and 212 unfinished drawings of animals and perhaps 100 or so other drawings of people, scenery and boats - a staggering output not only considering the short period of time but also the conditions of working. Much of his output - especially the drawings of animals - remains the subject of further research, some fruits of which are displayed in this book. His early death and the pressures which deterred his employer, Sir Joseph Banks, from his purpose in publishing the results of the voyage, led to a neglect of Parkinson's contribution to art and science which this book will do much to remedy. The book will unlock for the specialist and for the general public the treasures which have been held for a century in the library of the British Museum (Natural History) and in the British Library in London. Following a biographical sketch Wilfred Blunt evaluates Sydney Parkinson's work as a scientific artist; regional experts on the flora of each o fthe countries on the route of the voyage explain and comment upon their selections of the botanical drawings; Alwynne Wheeler of the British Museum (Natural History) presents and comments upon his selection of the animal drawings; Adrian Horridge, well-known for his studies on the evolution of boat building in the Indonesian Islands, comments on Parkinson's drawings of boats, especially the 'flying proa' of the Marianas. Jeremy Spencer deals with the landscape sketches. The book will appeal to the general public for its wealth of unusual, beautiful and historic illustrations; to those interested in the literature and results of voyages of exploration; to botanists and zoologists interested in the plants and animals of the Southern Hemisphere. The research worker will find meticulous reference to the relevant literature and to the lo cation of originals of the illustrations. An index gives ready access to the immense amount of detailed information contained in the text.


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