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National Museum of Australia

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Seated Staffordshire porcelain figurine of Captain James Cook

2007.0048.0002

Seated Staffordshire porcelain figurine of Captain James Cook

Object information

Physical description

Porcelain figure of a seated male with grey hair wearing a blue coat over a white waistcoat, and green breeches. The figure is seated on a chair covered with orange fabric, and he is resting his proper right hand on a scroll that is sitting on a side table.

Statement of significance

The Staffordshire Figurine Collection comprises three polychrome enamelled ceramic figurines of: Captain Cook seated at a small table; William Smith O'Brien seated and in chains; and O'Brien standing and dressed as a convict. Each figure dates from the late 1840s and shows evidence of minor restoration. The collection is in good condition.

William Smith O'Brien was an Irish nationalist and politician, and a major figure of the Catholic emancipation movement. His death sentence for treason was commuted to transportation for life to Van Diemen's Land, where he served 4 years before receiving a pardon. Captain Cook's voyages of discovery between 1768 and 1779 laid the groundwork for Britain's expanded Colonial empire and the establishment of settlements in Australia and New Zealand. Cook's maritime and scientific achievements and the popularity of published accounts of his voyages made him a celebrity whose portrait was keenly sought long after his death.

Object information

When

  • Associated period

  • 1768-1779
    Apply 1768-1779 filter
  • Cook undertook three voyages of exploration to the Pacific region between 1768 and 1779 when he was killed in Hawaii

Who

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