Captain James Cook (1728-79)

Statue of Captain James Cook, slightly over probable life size, facing forward, legs astride.

Cook is shown in captain's uniform, wearing his hat, his left glove gripped in his gloved right hand, his left hand akimbo on his hip. His sword hangs below to his left, from a broad belt diagonally over his right shoulder but under his frock coat.

The head is based on the portraits by Hodges (BHC4227) and Dance (BHC2628). The Museum also has a related bronze bust by Stones (SCU0136).The Webber portrait provides the prime model for the uniform and glove arrangement, which Webber used to conceal a distinctive powder-burn scar on Cook's right hand rather than simply ignoring it, as in Dance's case.

This statue was originally modelled as one of a set of seven Pacific explorers for the circular 'Hall of Discovery' in the New Zealand pavilion at the Seville Expo of 1992. The others were Kup-e, the probably mythical Maori discoverer of New Zealand; Magellan, Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, Alvaro de Mendana, Abel Tasman, and Louis-Antoine de Bougainville. All were modelled in clay and then cast in lightweight resin-bronze. These resin casts are now in Te-Papa, the New Zealand national museum at Wellington, though only shown occasionally.

The Museum's bronze version of Cook is one of two. The other is at Gisborne, on New Zealand's North Island where Cook first landed. The Museum version of Cook was presented in 1994 by Sir Arthur Weller CBE, then a Trustee. It was unveiled in 1996 by the Duke of Edinburgh, then NMM Senior Trustee. In 2003 it was repositioned from its temporary initial location south of the NMM west Colonnade, to inside the main gate from the Museum to Greenwich Park. It remained there until again removed for the building of the Museum's Sammy Ofer Wing (2009-11) and related southern grounds re-landscaping. Though intended to be reinstated when this was finished, the relocation of Yinka Shonibare's 'Nelson's Ship in a Bottle' fromm the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square to outside the Sommy Ofer Wing in 2012 has made this unlikely, since to place both in the changed setting would not benefit that, or either of the two works in comparison to the other. A new position has yet (2013) to be resolved.

Anthony Stones (b. 1934) was formerly Head of Design at NZ Television before becoming a full-time sculptor in England. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors and current (2004) President of the Society of Portrait Sculptors.

Object Details

ID: SCU0137
Collection: Sculpture
Type: Statue
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Stones, Anthony
Date made: 1994
People: Cook, James
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: 1980 x 800 x 675
Parts: Captain James Cook (1728-79)

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