Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer


Pair of maps that indicate the routes of Captain James Cook's three voyages


Pair of maps that indicate the routes of Captain James Cook's three voyages

Object information

Physical description

Pair of circular silk sampler maps, embroidered in black and coloured threads. One shows the eastern hemisphere of the world and the other the western hemisphere. The route of Captain Cook's three voyages to the Pacific are indicated in coloured thread. The maps are backed with cotton cloth, and there are pin holes around their edges.

Statement of significance

The Embroidered Map Samplers Collection consists of a pair of late 18th century embroidered maps of the Eastern and Western hemispheres on silk backed with cotton, showing the tracks of Captain Cook's three Pacific voyages. These rare maps are in good condition. Some threads are loosened or detached, and both maps are unstretched and dismounted from their original tambours.

Captain Cook's voyages of discovery between 1768 and his death in 1779 produced accurate maps, extensive collections of natural history specimens and ethnographic objects, and major advances in navigation which revolutionised European understanding of the Pacific and led to the British colonisation of Australia and New Zealand. The embroidered map samplers show the incorporation of Cook's discoveries into the British education system for young women, and suggest a growing sense of national pride at his achievements.

Object information

Back to top