© National Portrait Gallery, London
by John Keyse Sherwin, after Nathaniel Dance (later Sir Nathaniel Holland, Bt) Click on the links below to find out more
line engraving, published 1 August 1784
11 5/8 in. x 9 1/2 in. (295 mm x 240 mm) paper size
Purchased with help from the Friends of the National Libraries and the Pilgrim Trust, 1966
- James Cook (1728-1779), Circumnavigator. Sitter associated with 15 portraits.
The original portrait, from which this print is taken, was commissioned by the explorer and botanist Sir Joseph Banks and was praised as an excellent likeness.
Theatre proprietor and postal reformer John Palmer runs the first mail coach in England, between Bristol and London. A three day journey is now completed in 16 hours. Commutation Act reduces punitive duties on tea to combat smuggling.
Art and science
Aeronaut James Sadler makes the first hot air balloon flight in Britain, from Oxford to Woodeaton.Chemist Henry Cavendish's paper Experiments on Air
reveals the composition of water.Writer Samuel Johnson dies.Joshua Reynolds succeeds Allan Ramsay as Painter to the King.
Thomas Jefferson's Land Ordinance passed by the United States' Continental Congress, coming into effect the following year. It allows for the sale of land in the largely unmapped west of the country. Britain receives its first bales of cotton from the United States since before the War of American Independence. William Pitt's India Act creates a Board of Control to oversee the affairs of the British East India Company and centralise power.