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James Cook

James Cook, by John Webber, November 1776 -NPG 26 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

James Cook

by John Webber
November 1776
17 3/8 in. x 13 7/8 in. (440 mm x 354 mm) overall
NPG 26

This portraitback to top

Webber, primarily a view painter, accompanied Cook to the North Pacific in 1776-79. According to the inscription on Bartolozzi’s plate, this portrait was ‘Painted at the Cape of Good Hope, by J. Webber’, indicating a date between mid-October and November 1776.
Lot 88 in the Webber sale, Christie's, 2nd day, 15 June 1793, 'Captain Cook's Portrait and a small ditto', bought by 'Segr.' (probably the dealer William Seguier, d. 1844), probably comprised NPG 26 and Webber's larger portrait of 1782. An early, reduced, copy sold Christie’s, 8 April 1998, lot 114, and a copy was made in 1985 for the Cook museum at Whitby.

Referenceback to top

Joppien & Smith
R. Joppien & B. Smith, The Art of Captain Cook’s Voyages, 3 vols., vol. 3 in two parts (text & catalogue), 1985-88, III, p 646 (3-451).

Physical descriptionback to top

Blue-grey eyes, dark hair, wearing a captain’s full-dress uniform, white neckcloth, dark blue coat with white lapels and waistcoat, gold buttons, white neckcloth.

Provenanceback to top

Purchased from J. H. Burn 1858.

Exhibitionsback to top

Captain Cook, Portland, Ore., 1968 (2, as by Lionel Cust after John Webber, sic); Captain Cook, Birmingham, 1979; First Impressions, British Museum, 1988; John Webber, Manchester, Bern, 1996 (11).

Reproductionsback to top

F. Bartolozzi 1784; [J. P.] Haid 1788; J. A. Selb.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

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