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Captain James Cook Loving Cup by Royal Doulton

Date: 1933
247 x 250 x 160 mm
Medium: Ceramic, paint
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Loving cup
Object No: 00040524

User Terms

    With its two flag-draped handles - one with the British white ensign and the other with the Union Jack - this cup shows Captain James Cook directing newly landed soldiers and seamen at Botany Bay. The other side depicts HM Bark ENDEAVOUR lying at anchor. On the base of the cup is printed text 'Captain Cook The Greatest Navigator'. Edition of 350, number 309.
    SignificanceCaptain Cook's arrival at Botany Bay in 1770 marked the moment when European settlement of the continent became inevitable. His report and that of Sir Joseph Banks convinced the British Government to establish a penal colony (in the first instance) some 18 years later. As a commemorative piece, this cup signifies the power of both the subject and the maker to ceramic collectors worldwide
    HistoryThis large two-handled ceramic loving cup was manufactured by Royal Doulton at their Burslem factory in England in 1933 as part of their historical figures editions. Doulton's loving cups in this style are large and ornate and designed as commemorative and collector pieces, rather than for any for practical use. The series used personalities and notable incidents from adventure stories and events. The seafaring heroes in this series are Drake, Nelson and Cook - all suitably romanticised for the general public. In the 1930s when the series was released the average cost was three English pounds.The Cook cup is described as "forceful, animated modelling in low relief encompasses the vessel which is painted in rich glowing colours underglaze."

    The two handles are in the form of coconut palms each draped with a flag - one with the British white ensign and the other with the Union Jack. On one side we have Cook grandly directing his soldiers and seaman ashore at Botany Bay. Banks and Solander accompany him. The other view depicts Cook's famous ship HM Bark ENDEAVOUR quietly and safely at anchor in Botany Bay whilst another party steps ashore from one of the ship's boats. On the base of the cup is printed the following information 'Captain Cook / The Greatest Navigator / Whereas - we have - appointed you first lieu- / tenant of His Majestys / bark The Endeavour / Through storm & shine / alone on unknown - / seas. The Endeavour / anchored in Botany Bay / in the year of our Lord / 1770 / The production of this Cup / is limited to 350 / No 309'.

    It was during Cook's epic 1768-1771 voyage of discovery that he became the first recorded European to land on the east coast of Australia (known at the time as New Holland). Having extensively navigated New Zealand, Cook continued westwards until he reached the coastline of Australia. Initial attempts to land near Bulli failed and on 29 April 1770, landfall was made at Botany Bay.

    Having caught substantial numbers of stingray, the name Stingray Bay was frequently used to name this important area in European history. However, Cook's journal formally names it Botany Bay due to the great quantity of new plants discovered by Joseph Banks and Carl Solander.

    It was on Sir Joseph Banks' recommendation of Botany Bay that led the British to plan the site as the first of their Australian penal colonies. From this expedition came the first European habitation of Australia. Archaeological evidence shows that Indigenous settlement of the area dates back some 5,000 years. In his meticulous journal of the voyage Cook details various interactions with "the Natives" at Botany Bay, remarking that "all they seem'd to want was for us to be gone."

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