1773 Sydney Parkinson Journal

Value (2013) | $6,000 Auction$9,000 Auction

My late husband's aunt collected old books and this was a journal of apparently a rather well-known historical voyage in 1773, Parkinson's Journal of the Voyage of the Endeavour, which I gathered and I understand was the first voyage, I think, at that time to the South Seas from Great Britain.

Yes, this is Captain Cook's first voyage round the world. Let's go ahead and open this up to the title page. So, "A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas." The voyage began in 1768 and lasted through 1771, and it's the first of the famous three voyages by Captain James Cook. He had several missions on that voyage, which, one of them was to search for what was then the great unknown southern continent, which we call Australia today. On that voyage was this man, Sydney Parkinson, who was an artist and a botanist and also something of a linguist. And his job on the voyage was to make drawings and observations of botanical life, native life. And he also compiled a couple of vocabularies of native languages while he was on board.


So he was a very important part of this particular voyage. Unfortunately, on the way home in 1771, he died.

Oh, okay.

Of dysentery.

Oh, boy.

When the ship returned to London, Parkinson's papers were turned over to his brother, a man named Stanfield Parkinson, which, if you see here in the publishing information, here is the name of Parkinson's brother. So Stanfield Parkinson did make Sydney Parkinson's papers available to the person who was compiling the official version of Cook's voyages, but he was outraged when his late brother was not credited properly in the official version. So, he prepared for publication his brother's version, as well. So, in the year 1773, there were two competing versions of Cook's first voyage. There was Captain Cook's version and then this version, as well. One of the reasons why it's so desirable is that Parkinson's illustrations are really amazing. Here's a portrait of a Maori warrior, and this book is full of these sorts of illustrations. It has a little bit of a condition problem here with offset, but this is not uncommon. So, I would put an auction value of this piece at $6,000 to $9,000.

Oh, my.

Yes, this is a very nice piece indeed.

Oh, well, thank you very much.

You're welcome.

Appraisal Details

Bonhams, LA
Los Angeles, CA
Appraised value (2013)
$6,000 Auction$9,000 Auction
Anaheim, CA (June 22, 2013)

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