Thursday, February 8, 2018

Donation of Rare Prints


It was in July that I received emails from a visitor to Norfolk Island, enquiring if we knew of the collection of rare prints and maps at the Antique Print & Map Room in the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney.  And to inform us that of particular interest, was a rare engraved map of Norfolk Island from the official British Admiralty sanctioned edition of the accounts of Cook’s second voyage.   

I knew of the Antique Map & Print Room, and of the map being referred to, the question to follow was, ‘Do we have a copy of this map in our collection and if not would we be happy to receive one?’ And so began the process to accept and receive this generous donation.

The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote these words, “My offer is all about the significance of the items themselves; and of recognising the great work of the Museum, in its honouring of history and heritage, and efforts in making this available to inform others now, and into the future. I am personally very, very grateful for the Museum and its staff, custodians past and present, who have nurtured my history heart.”   Our generous donor has since offered more than this rare map.


I had the opportunity to meet the donor in Sydney plus visit the Antique Print and Map Room and returned to Norfolk with this beautifully framed map, plus an engraving by John James Barralet titled ‘View of Matavai Bay’ Tahiti, taken from the official British Admiralty sanctioned edition of the accounts of Cook’s first voyage.  During this meeting, the donor intimated a wish to donate a further three prints into the Norfolk Island Museum Trust Collection, so watch this space!

Matavai Bay in Tahiti is significant for its association with the Mutiny on the Bounty story.  Our interpretation of this part of our history is enhanced by the installation of this print in the Pier Store Museum.   The first map of Norfolk Island drafted by Cook on his second voyage of discovery has now been installed into the Commissariat Store Museum, suitably positioned to illustrate Cook’s discovery of Norfolk Island in 1774.

So, to our anonymous donor, we offer a sincere and public thank you from the Norfolk Island Museum and the community of Norfolk Island for such consideration for our history and your contribution to our story.

A view of Matavai Bay in Otaheite from One Tree Hill c 1773 Artist: John James Barralet (c1747 - 1815)

Norfolk Isle. (Norfolk Island) c 1777 Mapmaker: James Cook (1728 - 1779)


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