According to Captain Cook’s Journal, Alexander Buchan was ‘Landscip Draftsman’ to Sir Joseph Banks (1743–1820) on Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific (1768–71). Here Buchan pictures Tierra del Fuego, off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland. It was first sighted by the expedition on 11 January 1769 and Endeavour anchored there, in the Bay of Good Success, a few days later. Endeavour can be seen in the foreground.
Along with topographical subjects, Buchan recorded the local people of Tierra del Fuego, including their habitations and aspects of their costume. This drawing is one of the last Buchan ever worked on: on the 16 January 1769 the artist fell seriously ill on an excursion to the hills beyond the Bay of Good Success. He suffered a fatal fit a few months later, just three days after reaching Tahiti, and was buried at sea.
- Article by:
- Phil Hatfield
- Science and nature, Military and maritime
The first encounters of the Pacific by explorers such as Captain James Cook and Joseph Banks opened Europeans' eyes to a rich new world. Dr Philip Hatfield recalls this age of discovery as told through the topographical collections of the British Library.
- Article by:
- William Frame
- The voyages
William Frame, the British Library’s Head of Modern Archives and Manuscripts, gives an account of Cook’s first voyage of 1768-71. Cook was instructed to observe the transit of Venus. But his expedition also had a secret aim to find lands in the south Pacific.