[CAPTAIN JAMES COOK (1728-1779)] AND ALEXANDER SHAW (fl.1783)
[CAPTAIN JAMES COOK (1728-1779)] AND ALEXANDER SHAW (fl.1783)

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[CAPTAIN JAMES COOK (1728-1779)] AND ALEXANDER SHAW (fl.1783)

A Catalogue of the Different Specimens of Cloth collected in the three voyages of Captain Cook, To the Southern Hemisphere; with a Particular Account of the Manner of the Manufacturing the same in the various Islands of the South Seas; partly extracted from Mr. Anderson and Reinhold Forster's Observations, And the verbal Account of some of the most knowing of the Navigators: with some anecdotes that happened to them among the natives. London: Alexander Shaw, 1787. 4° (222 x 182mm). Letterpress title, dedication on verso, 6 pages text and 38 specimens of Tapa Cloth (of 39 listed) on 24 leaves, numbered in ink in a contemporary hand in reverse order from 39-14 and 12-'First' on the facing blank interleaves. (Text leaves very lightly soiled, very small wormtrack affecting five cloth samples and associated interleaves at gutter.) Contemporary half calf over marbled-paper covered boards, paper spine label lettered in contemporary ink ms 'South Sea Cloths' (spine worn, covers detached, extremities rubbed). Provenance: Alexander Keith (contemporary ink inscription dated 1788 to front pastedown, with the note 'Bt of Aly Shaw p. 5/') -- Allaster E. Cox (ink ownership inscription dated July 21 1886 to title; bookplate).

FINE AND RARE TAPA CLOTH SPECIMENS, collected on James Cook's third voyage to the South Seas in Resolution 1776-1780. The specimens, most with some pattern or dye, were collected from the islands of Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga and New Amsterdam, and include a sole example from Jamaica (often missing). Shaw's text gives details of manufacture, anecdotal comments on how and where samples were obtained, and occasional notes on the original size of the sheets from which each was cut. The book seems to have been very sought-after at the time of publication, and many samples were cut-down, the offcuts being pasted into 'snippet books' (see Hordern House cat. 2006, cover item). All copies vary in their number of specimens, types and sizes; but the present work has UNUSUALLY LARGE, FRESH SAMPLES, INCLUDING 6 FULL-PAGE AND 3 NEAR FULL-PAGE IN SIZE. Specimen 13, 'From Otaheite ... used in religious ceremonies', like the BL copy, is not present here, and as the original stiching is undisturbed was obviously never bound in at the time of publication. VERY RARE -- ONLY 7 COPIES HAVE SOLD AT AUCTION SINCE 1975 (ABPC). Beddie 3640; Forbes 139; Hocken 26.
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