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Captain Cook & the Art of Memorabilia Exhibition


Thu 25 Feb 2021, 10:00am–4:00pm
Fri 26 Feb 2021, 10:00am–4:00pm
Sat 27 Feb 2021, 10:00am–4:00pm
Tue 2 Mar 2021, 10:00am–4:00pm
Wed 3 Mar 2021, 10:00am–4:00pm

Where: The David Roche Foundation, 241 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide, South Australia

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • General Admission - Full Price: $15.00
  • General Admission - Concession Price: $12.00
  • Door Sales Only
  • Additional fees may apply

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Listed by: jaynebailes

In 2004 David Roche acquired the HMS Resolution table, c.1810, a significant piece of English Regency memorabilia so-called because it 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. 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.

Following four major themes the exhibition begins with Cook’s recording and charting of the east coast of Australia and Tasmania. 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. ‘Memorabilia’ uniquely encompasses Cook both as 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 crochet’s of ‘Cook’s cottage’ in Melbourne.

The third theme explores images of Cook which 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.

No booking required.

Main image: Ali Gumillya Baker (Mirning people, Australia b. 1975), Sovereign Fleet (Black), 2013, Australia photographic print on archival paper, 157.5 x 107cm. On loan from the artist

Other images L-R: Andrew Kippis (Britain 1735–1811), The life of Captain James Cook, View of the Endeavour River on the Coast of New Holland, where Captain Cook had the ship laid on shore, in order to repair the damage which she received on the rock (plate), 1763–1819, Britain, ink on paper, 31cm high. On loan from the National Library of Australia.

Christian Thompson (Bidjara people, Australia born 1978), Museum of Others (Othering the Explorer, James Cook), from the series Museum of Others, 2016, Australia, c-type photograph on metallic, paper, 120 x 120 cm, Collection of Flinders University Museum of Art 5808. © Courtesy of the Artist and Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin 2020.

Thomas Hannam and Richard Mills (Britain active 1763–1765), silversmiths, A George III silver salver engraved with coat of arms of Captain James Cook, 1764 (later engraved), London,
engraved sterling silver, 3.8 x 31.0cm diameter. On loan from the National Library of Australia
Sandra Saunders (Ngarrindjeri people, Australia born 1947), Portrait of Captain Cook, 2002, Australia, synthetic polymer paint on canvas board, 61.0 x 51.0cm. On loan from the artist.

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