Cook's Voyages to the South Seas
(Natural History Museum, London)


Frederick Polydor Nodder; Family: LEGUMINOSAE Genus/Species: ERYTHRINA VESPERTILIOARTstor has collaborated with the Natural History Museum, London to share approximately 1,600 images of botanical and zoological illustrations associated with Captain James Cook's expeditions to the South Pacific from 1768 – 1779. With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the museum has digitized watercolors and drawings and made them available for scholarship and education in the Digital Library. James Cook (1728 – 1779) was a captain in the British Royal Navy who commanded three epic voyages of exploration, charting the largely unexplored Pacific Ocean and twice circumnavigating the globe. Cook's expeditions contributed significantly to contemporary geographic, oceanographic, and astronomic knowledge. Of equal importance are the scientific contributions made by the naturalists and artists who accompanied Cook, which are represented by the natural history illustrations now available in ARTstor.

The Natural History Museum was founded in 1881, though the origins of its core collections date back to the 18th century. Upon his death, Sir Hans Sloane (1660 – 1753) bequeathed his extensive collection of natural specimens and other curiosities to the nation, forming the core of the British Museum. Over the years, as the British Museum acquired additional collections, it became necessary to construct a separate museum to display the natural history collections in their own space, resulting in the Natural History Museum. Today, the museum houses an extraordinary collection of over 70 million plant and animal specimens, including those amassed by Joseph Banks during Cook's first expedition aboard the Endeavour, as well as the natural history illustrations associated with all three of Cook's voyages.

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Collection information

Total size of collection* 1,647
Percentage of completion 100%
Search terms endeavour botanical OR cook forster OR cook ellis
Collection URL

* Image totals should be regarded as an approximation until a given collection is 100% complete. Users should also bear in mind that the number of images available to them may vary from country to country, reflecting ARTstor’s approach to addressing an international copyright landscape that itself varies from country to country.

Last updated: February 3, 2010

Image Credits

Frederick Polydor Nodder; Family: LEGUMINOSAE Genus/Species: ERYTHRINA VESPERTILIO; Natural History Museum, London

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