Captain Cook’s Intrepid first voyage to the South Pacific

This series of paintings of Captain Cook’s circumnavigation of Aotearoa New Zealand, was produced for an Exhibition to coincide with Te Tuia – Encounters 250, which marked 250 years since the first onshore encounter between Maori and Pakeha in 1769-70. The paintings were a celebration of the navigational skills and seamanship of James Cook and his crew, and the challenges that faced a small wooden ship, a converted Whitby Collier, to travel half way around the world, from England to the South Pacific, and back again.

H.M. Bark Endeavour was considered a ‘bark’, meaning a ‘cat’ or bluff–bowed boat of shallow draught with incomplete rigging in the mizzen. She was a vessel of 368 tons, and her overall length was 105 feet. The full crew on board the H.M. Bark Endeavour was 95 people.

The paintings of the Endeavour series were all oil paintings on stretched canvas and framed with a double white boxed frame with a gold fillet insert. Like all marine artists, I have a large reference library of images of the replica of the Endeavour, as well as photos of ships models and admiralty ships drawings, which are all used to best capture the image of the ship.

Then it was a matter of putting it all together with the right wind, sea and lighting conditions, to try to capture the feel of a small ship and its crew, at the mercy of the sea and the weather. The paintings, while ‘endeavouring’ to be as accurate as possible, are more about capturing a painterly feel, rather than all the finer details of rigging and running lines.

It was a fine balance to get all the elements to fit together, in as a convincing way as possible. The paintings were produced and framed to work as a series or as stand alone paintings. Nearly all the paintings in this ‘Endeavour Exhibition’ were sold.


900mm x 900mm – Oil on Canvas. Sold.

My portrait painting of Captain Cook which was part of the exhibition.


1200mm x 1000mm – Oil on Canvas. Sold

“Saturday 7th. – Gentle breezes and settled weather. At 2 p.m. saw land from the Masthead bearing W. by N., which stood directly for and could but just see it of the Deck at sunset. Variation per Azimuth and Amplitude 15°4’ E., by observation of the Sun and Moon made this afternoon the Longitude of the ship is 180° 55’ W.”

‘SUNDAY 31st’

1000mm x 870mm – Oil on Canvas. Sold.

“Sunday 31st. – Fresh gales at S.W. by S. accompanied by a large Sea from the same Quarter. At 1 p.m. Tack’ed and Stood to the N.W. until 8. then stood to the S.E. At this time the Island of the 3 Kings bore N.W. by W. distant 11 League.”


1000mm x 870mm – Oil on Canvas. Sold.

“Wednesday 15th. – Mercury Bay lies in the Latitude of 36° 47’ S., and the Longitude of 184° 4’ W., from the Meridan of Greenwich it lies S.W. between 2 and 3 leagues. There are several Islands lying both to the Southward and Northward of it, and a Small high Island on Rock in the Middle of the Entrance.”


1000mm x 870mm – Oil on Canvas. Sold.

“Wednesday 29th. – Fresh Gales at N.W. and W.N.W. kept plying to Windward until 7 p.m. and finding that we had lost ground every board we made, I thought I could not do better than to bear up for the Bay, which lies to Windward of Cape Brett.”

‘FRIDAY 27th’

1000mm x 870mm – Oil on Canvas. Sold.

“Friday 27th Sept. – The first part strong Gales and Squally; remainder a fresh breeze and settled weather. At 1 p.m. was obliged to take in the Topsails. At 11 a.m. saw a bird something like a Snipe only it had a short bill; and the appearance of a land bird.”

‘MONDAY 9th’

1000mm x 870mm – Oil on Canvas. Sold.

“Monday, 9th Oct. – Gentle breeze and Clear Weather. I went ashore with a Party of men in the Pinnacle and Yawl accompanied by Mr Banks and Dr. Solander. We landed abreast of the Ship and on the East side of the river.”


750mm x 750mm – Oil on Canvas. Sold.


750mm x 750mm – Oil on Canvas. Sold.


1000mm x 850mm – Oil on Canvas. Sold.


1000mm x 850mm – Oil on Canvas. Sold.