The British Library: James Cook The Voyages

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being invited to the British Library for a private tour of a new exhibition: James Cook- The Voyages!

The exhibition tells the story of Captain James Cook’s three world-changing voyages (Endeavour, Resolution and Discovery) through original documents, many of which were produced by the artists, scientists and sailors on board the ships.

The exhibition includes Cook’s handwritten journal detailing the first crossing of the Antarctic Circle, when they travelled further south than anyone in the world. It also includes stunning artwork including the earliest European depiction of a kangaroo, and intricate maps charting the voyages that spanned more than a decade.

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We arrived a bit late so missed the opening speech and Champagne, but ran straight to The Voyages exhibition! The notebooks, maps and drawings by the Polynesian high priest and navigator Tupaia, who accompanied Cook to New Zealand and Australia, sat alongside works by expedition artists Sydney Parkinson, William Hodges and John Webber! It’s so surreal to think of how old these artefacts are and that without these voyages,  who knows how long it would have taken for the next explorer to visit the unknown lands of New Zealand, Hawaii and Australia.

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After our tour of the James Cook exhibition we enjoyed some steel drum music, wine and cupcakes! We were then able to choose another tour at the British Library and decided on the Treasures gallery! We thought it would be crowns and jewels but were actually very pleasantly surprised- the gallery holds old books and records that will blow your mind! From Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketches, to the original lyrics of the Beatles and an actual Gutenberg Bible- this gallery was breathtaking! This was also the first time Jonas went to the British Library and it was definitely a very fun evening out!

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If you are looking for something to do on a weekend or on your day off and want something unique and different to see in London, I highly recommend visiting the British Library & checking out the exhibits they have on at the moment! The James Cook Voyage exhibition is on until the 28th of August and definitely worth seeing 🙂

 

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