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James Cook

12 of 15 portraits of James Cook

James Cook

by and published by John Keyse Sherwin, published by Robert Wilkinson, after Nathaniel Dance (later Sir Nathaniel Holland, Bt)
line engraving, published 1 August 1784
11 3/4 in. x 10 1/4 in. (300 mm x 259 mm) plate size; 13 3/8 in. x 11 3/4 in. (340 mm x 300 mm) paper size
Bequeathed by (Frederick) Leverton Harris, 1927
Reference Collection
NPG D14061


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  • James Cook (1728-1779), Circumnavigator. Sitter associated with 15 portraits.

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Current affairs

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.

International

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.

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