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Captain Cook & the Art of Memorabilia

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Only at The David Roche Foundation House Museum
Joseph Backler (Australia, 18131895), Captain Cook on the coast of New South Wales, 1860, Sydney, oil on canvas laid on board. Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.

Following four major themes, Captain Cook and the Art of Memorabilia examines the figure of James Cook and his role in the history of Australia from First Nations and colonial perspectives.

The exhibition begins with the story of Cook's first voyage, during which he recorded and charted the east coast of Australia and Tasmania.

James Cook (Britain 17281779), A chart of the Southern Hemisphere: shewing the tracks of some of the most distinguished navigators, 1777, Britain, engraving on paper. On loan from the National Library of Australia.

The exhibition then turns its attention to the idea of memorabilia: objects that are collected because they are connected with a person or event that is thought to be remarkable and worthy of remembrance; memorable; mementoes of the past; souvenirs; relics.

Wedgwood & Bentley (Britain 17691780), Portrait medallion of Captain Cook, c.1777, London, jasper. On loan from the National Library of Australia.

'Memorabilia' uniquely encompasses Cook both as a person and an event that has evolved in relation to Australia.

Personal items belonging to Cook are joined by photographs of commemorative events, children's games, medallions, theatre broadsides and even crochets of 'Cook's cottage' in Melbourne.

Ali Gumillya Baker (Mirning people, Australia born 1975), Sovereign Fleet (black), 2013, Australia, photographic print on archival paper. Ali Gumillya Baker. On loan from the artist.

The third theme explores images of Cook that have at once proliferated and established a set of character traits that persisted well into the 20th century.

These historical works are situated alongside contemporary responses by Ben Quilty and First Nations artists Gordon Bennett, Christian Thompson and Sandra Saunders to interrogate what Cook means today.

The final, fourth intersection with Cook, considers the visualisation of sovereignty through coins, medallions, photography and film by First Nations artists Darren Siwes, James Tylor, Ali Gumillya Baker and Daniel Boyd. They speak to history through their own perspectives and allow us all to reconsider Captain Cook.

Sandra Saunders (Ngarrindjeri people, Australia born 1947), Portrait of Captain Cook, 2002, Australia, synthetic polymer paint on canvas board. On loan from the artist.

Included in the exhibition is the HMS Resolution table, c.1810, a significant piece of English Regency memorabilia that contains a piece of oak from the ship and an inscription to James Cook's achievements set amongst exotic timbers from the lands visited by Cook. Acquired by David Roche in 2004, it is usually seen on display at the National Library of Australia in Canberra.

Displayed for the first time at the Foundation, the table is joined by 29 items generously lent by the National Library of Australia as well as numerous works of art from other important public, private and university collections in Australia.

Richard Goodman (Britain active 18071822), cabinetmaker, HMS Resolution table, c.1810, London, various wood, oak, ivory, gilt metal. The David Roche Foundation House Museum, Adelaide

Captain Cook & the Art of Memorabilia is now showing exclusively at The David Roche Foundation House Museum until 29 May 2021.

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10 AM - 4 PM. No booking required.

Guided Tours: Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday 11:15am.

Entry: $15 adult. $12 concession. Children under 12 free.

Plan your visit at www.rochefoundation.com.au, Facebook and Instagram


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When: 30 January to 29 May 2021
Where: The David Roche Foundation House Museum, 241 Melbourne St, North Adelaide SA 5006
Cost: Entry: $15 adult. $12 concession. Children under 12 free.
Your Comment
What a unique insight into Australia's past
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|2480) 22 days ago
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