Captain James Cook

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Captain James Cook, historic portrait bust of world-famous British Explorer.

Commissioned bronze portrait bust of famed British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and Captain in the Royal Navy

Tom White created this historical bust of Captain James Cook at the request of Ed Grusnis, Curator of The Antiquarium in Houston, Texas.  The Antiquarium sells original rare maps and antique prints.  Tom enjoyed researching Cook’s vast accomplishments and voyages, and loves working to recreate accurate historical costuming and effects in sculptures like this one.  Recasts of Tom’s bust of Captain Cook are available in bronze.

Captain Cook was a renowned British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and Captain in the British Royal Navy, famous for his three voyages (1768 to 1779) in the Pacific and to Australia, in particular.  In these voyages, Cook sailed thousands of miles across largely uncharted areas of the globe.

Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making his three voyages to the Pacific, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawai’ian Islands (which he originally named the Sandwich Islands).  He also was the first to circumnavigate New Zealand.  His voyages were marked by a combination of seamanship, superior surveying and cartographic skills, physical courage, and an ability to lead men in adverse conditions.

Call if you have a favorite historical figure you would like for Tom to create in bronze for you. 

…Tom & Marcey White

James Cook was a naval captain, navigator and explorer.  Born in Marton-in-Cleveland, Yorkshire, England on October 27, 1728, the son of a Scottish farmhand, he also worked alongside his father until the age of 18 when he was offered an apprenticeship by a Quaker shipowner in the small seaside village near Whitby, England. The experience proved to be fortuitous for the future naval officer and explorer, bringing him in contact with both the ocean and ships along the port.

Cook eventually joined the British Navy and, at age 29, was promoted to ship’s master. During the Seven Years War (1756-1763), he commanded a captured ship for the Royal Navy.  He subsequently surveyed and mapped much of the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River during the siege of Quebec, which brought him to the attention of the Admiralty and the Royal Society.  This acclaim led to his commission and the direction of British overseas exploration.  In 1768 he took command of the first scientific expedition to the Pacific.  On his ship, the HMB Endeavour, Cook charted New Zealand and the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. This area has since been credited as one of the world’s most dangerous areas to navigate.

After his return to England, Cook was chosen to circumnavigate and explore Antarctica.  On this voyage, he charted Tonga, Easter Island, New Caledonia, the South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia, and disproved the existence of Terra Australis, a fabled southern continent.  Cook named the Hawai’ian Islands the “Sandwich Islands” after the Earl of Sandwich, a patron also known as John Montagu.

Cook’s voyages are credited with helping to guide generations of explorers and with providing the first accurate map of the Pacific.  Many believe that Cook did more to “fill the map of the world” than any other explorer in history.  During all his voyages, Cook successfully fought scurvy, a deadly disease caused by vitamin deficiency, by feeding his crew a diet that included watercress, sauerkraut and orange extract. During his third exploratory voyage, Cook and his crew were in Kealakekua Bay (Hawai’i) for a winter layover.  While attempting to detain the ruling chief of the island (Kalani’opu’u of Hawaii) and to reclaim a cutter taken from one of his ships, Cook was attacked and killed.  He died in the skirmish on February 14, 1779. 

On a visit to Kauai in August 2022, Marcey, was fascinated to learn more of Captain Cooks expoits on the island and learned of the location of his last, fatal encounter there.  She visited the life-size statue of Captain Cook and took a photo to show Tom.  Marcey and Tom both enjoy viewing different artists interpretation and creation of historical figures in their travels.