Title and statement of responsibility area
John Webber fonds
General material designation
- Graphic material
Other title information
Title statements of responsibility
- Source of title proper: Title based on provenance of fonds
Level of description
Edition statement of responsibility
Class of material specific details area
Statement of scale (cartographic)
Statement of projection (cartographic)
Statement of coordinates (cartographic)
Statement of scale (architectural)
Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- John Webber
Physical description area
61 prints : engravings
Publisher's series area
Title proper of publisher's series
Parallel titles of publisher's series
Other title information of publisher's series
Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series
Numbering within publisher's series
Note on publisher's series
Archival description area
Name of creator
John Webber was an English artist most famous for the drawings he created while accompanying the explorer Captain James Cook on his third and final voyage. Webber studied fine arts in Switzerland and Paris. Returning to England in 1775, he came to the attention of the English naturalist Sir Joseph Banks, who appears to have introduced him to Captain James Cook. Cook subsequently hired Webber to accompany him aboard the HMS Resolution as a topographical artist, supplying drawings to supplement the official written account of the journey.
In July 1776, the expedition departed England and sailed for the Pacific. After visiting Australia, the Hawaiian Island (which Cook named the Sandwich Islands), and a number of other South Sea islands, Cook’s ships reached the coast of North America, which they charted while attempting to discover the Northwest Passage. In the spring of 1778, the expedition spent a month retrofitting their vessels at Nootka Sound, where Webber was active sketching landscapes and the indigenous peoples they encountered. Having charted the remainder of the North American coastline to the Bering Strait, the expedition returned in February 1779 to Hawaii, where Cook was killed following a dispute with the Hawaiians.
As an artist aboard the HMS Resolution, Webber created some 200 sketches during the four-year voyage. Upon the expedition’s return to England in 1780, Webber was commissioned to supervise the engraving of 61 of these drawings for publication in official journals, a task that took him until 1785. Between 1784 and 1792, Webber exhibited 50 works at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1785, and a Royal Academician in 1791.
Scope and content
Fonds consists of matted prints of engravings made from sketches created by John Webber as official artist on Captain James Cook’s third voyage. Prints depict landscapes, animals, people, clothing styles, architecture, and events that were encountered on the voyage in places such as New Zealand, the Friendly Islands (Tonga), the Sandwich Islands (the Hawaiian Islands), Nootka Sound (Vancouver Island, BC), and Van Dieman’s Land (Tasmania).
Records were received bound in a deteriorating, cover-less book. Upon
receipt, the book was sent to the Canadian Conservation Institute where the engravings were unbound, treated, and matted using conservation board.
Immediate source of acquisition
A note included in the Webber Engravings case file states: "These records were a gift of Mr. H.N.W. Toms, University of British Columbia, Department of Forestry. The records were donated in 1959 or 1961. Mr. Toms collected this in Britain at an earlier date.”
Records have been given accession number MAN 1991-006.
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Generated finding aid
Standard number area
Place access points
Name access points
Genre access points
Description record identifier
Rules or conventions
Level of detail
Dates of creation, revision and deletion
Copied from MemoryBC on November 24, 2015 by Katie Ferrante.
Finding aid added December 8, 2015