COOK, CAPTAIN JAMES--BANKS, JOSEPH
- [Untitled chart of "The Great Pacific Ocean" and "South Pacific Ocean". London: Joseph Banks, 1772 (separate publication)]
This map was commissioned from the engraver John Bayly (fl.1755-1783) by Sir Joseph Banks, who had taken part in Cook's first voyage and was central to preparations for the second. Its basis was Alexander Dalrymple's map of the Pacific, from his Historical collection of the several voyages and discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean (1770-1771), drawn to the same size and scale, and overlaid with discoveries from Cook's first voyage.
While there is some debate, it seems clear that Banks commissioned the chart partly to celebrate the success of the first voyage but also to promote his participation in the second, with the chart intended as an accompaniment to a printed edition of the botanical drawings made on the voyage. However, the Admiralty and Banks became embroiled in a dispute during the preparation for the second voyage, culminating in Banks and his colleagues not taking part. With the end of his involvement, it is assumed that Banks lost interest, discarding uncirculated copies of the map and producing only a single proof set of the natural history plates, both the prints and plates also surviving in the British Museum.
The printing history of the plate is well known; an invoice from the engraver survives, dated 26 March 1772 (but with items to 27 March); it is generally stated that one hundred examples were printed: fifty on fine French paper, and fifty on a thinner paper, but the invoice refers to “1 Quire of French Paper & printing D[itt]o” and “To 2 Quires of Supp[erio]r [f] fine Thin [paper] and printing D[itt]o” implying twenty-four impressions on the French paper and forty-eight on the thin paper; the charge for the copperplate was 8s and engraving the plate £2 2s. Indeed, the printing plate still survives, in Daniel Solander's collection within the British Museum and was used to print a modern limited edition of 500 copies in 1990.
Until recently, the only recorded example of the map was in the British Library, part of a composite maritime atlas assembled by Banks himself, printed on the thinner paper (Shirley MABL, M-Co.6a, map 71).
More recently, the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, acquired a second example printed on thick paper, with a watermark “IHS” (Mitchell Map Collection, M2 910/1772/2). A significant difference between the two is that on the Mitchell example the label “New South Wales” is crammed within that part of Australia depicted within the polar hemisphere, beginning in Tasmania, while the British Library's copy has the label engraved in a more correct position – “New” in the southern hemisphere and “South Wales” in the Pacific section.
This newly-discovered third map is printed on the thick French paper with the “IHS” watermark, like the Mitchell example, but is in the second state with “New South Wales” correctly positioned in both sections of the chart, like the British Library example. It would appear, then, that the Mitchell Library example was a first proof, immediately corrected.