A set of the three voyage accounts comprising: Together eight volumes, quarto, and two folio Atlases; uniformly bound in contemporary polished diced Russian leather, decorated in blind and gilt, atlases in half binding with marbled paper sides matching the endpapers of the text volumes; all volumes neatly respined.
London, 1773-1784. $68,500
An attractive complete set of Captain Cook’s three voyages in their large official accounts, with uniform contemporary provenance. The series of official Cook narratives is the cornerstone of any collection
of books relating to the Pacific. Illustrated with marvellous engravings based on the work of the official artists on the voyages, including Parkinson, Hodges, and Webber, the series stands as the great monument to Cook’s achievements. This handsome set has the first and third voyages in their “best” editions and the rarely seen feature of a separate Atlas to the second voyage. Of the total of 204 engraved plates and maps that illustrate the three voyage accounts, 128 of them are contained in the separate Atlas volumes where they can be seen to best advantage in the larger format.
The first voyage is in its second and best edition, complete with the “Directions for placing the cuts” and the “Chart of the Straights of Magellan” (both of which are usually missing in the first edition), and with the new Preface containing Hawkesworth’s virulent 8-page reply to Dalrymple’s whining reviews of the first edition, and the whole volume revised by the voyage’s astronomer William Wales. The second voyage, here in its third edition, has the very desirable separate atlas containing the wonderful series of plates and maps (usually bound into the text volumes) printed on thicker paper than usual, and unusually fresh and bright. Only the largest of the maps are folded, and the views and botanical plates are even more impressive for their being in uncreased state.
The third voyage is in its second edition, often preferred for several reasons, including the fact that the Royal Society medal awarded to Cook posthumously in 1784 appears on the title-pages; the printing was done by Hughs (rather than Strahan who printed the first edition) with the wording of
the title-pages slightly modified and the text itself entirely re-set. Isaac Smith presenting a set on behalf of Cook’s widow in 1821 noted that ‘I am desired by
Mrs Cook… to request your acceptance of the 4 books sent herewith being her Husband’s last Voyage round the World, as a mark of her respect… the letter press of the second edition being much superior to the first both in paper & letter press’ (quoted by Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography, 85). King George III’s copy of the official account, preserved in the British Library, is also an example of this second edition.
Uniform provenance in all volumes of Ebenezer John Collett (1755-1833, MP for Grampound, Cornwall from 1814 to 1818), with armorial bookplates; Francis Markham, with bookplates; private collection (Sydney)
Beddie, 650, 1226, 1552; Hill, 782, 358, 361; Holmes, 5, 24, 47..
In association with Hordern House.