First Map: How James Cook Chartered Aotearoa New Zealand by Tessa Duder

It was a great privilege to be asked to work on Tessa Duder’s First Map, How James Cook Charted Aotearoa New Zealand.

Tessa has done a wonderful job of recounting the events, misfortunes and accomplishments of Cook’s voyage in the Endeavour between August 1768 and July 1771 and the creation of his magnificent record of our coastline.

Endeavour passes Dover

The original chart, Folio 16, is housed in the British Library. It is a fantastic artifact, one of those objects that has become a history of itself; creased, stained and stuck together with tape along its folds. As soon as I saw it, I knew we had to sink it into the graphic feel of the book and sail around its inky coasts as we followed the Endeavour’s progress and Tessa’s narrative.

First Map chapter three spread

It was my job to create fresh images to the ones we are so familiar with from this voyage but I found myself returning again and again to those drawings by Parkinson and Sporing. They are, especially in their rough initial states before engraving, the authentic record and I stared into them trying to visualize the real scenes they attempted to depict.

Endeavour with her wooden deadlights securely fixed over the stern windows by Sydney Parkinson, from The British Library
Endeavour in heavy seas off Cape Reinga

Several of my drawings reimagine details from those works. Others refer directly to particularly iconic images such as Nathaniel Dance’s portrait of Cook or Tupaia’s astonishing depiction of Maori trading Crayfish. I have also used still lifes, landscapes and natural history drawings to trigger the reader’s own imaginings. My intention was that the stained pencil drawings would be sympathetic to the chart itself and encourage us all to take our own voyages into the past.

South Island Kokako

Many people helped with research for this book.  I would like to thank John Duder in particular for his expert knowledge and advice on tall ship rigging.

Endeavour with waka

One delightful feature of this handsome production is the French fold cover with Folio 16 printed on the inside (video coming soon…)