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Sea Lion and Lioness

Date: 1748
Dimensions:
Overall: 288 x 456 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Copper engraving
Object No: 00046957

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    Description
    The publication of George Anson's account of his voyage around the world in the years 1740-44 provided an early source of information about the Pacific region. Although essentially a punitive mission against Spanish interests, Anson's account also went some way in documenting the natural resources of the areas he visited - such as the sea lions shown here.
    SignificanceThis engraving is significant as a very early representation of fauna in the Pacific region. Along with whaling, the hunting of seals and otters for their skins was to become a major industry in the Pacific in the 19th century.
    HistoryBorn 1697, George Anson entered the Royal Navy in 1712 and served in a succession of vessels. Following England's declaration of war on Spain in 1739, Anson was given command of HMS CENTURION and a squadron of six ships and sent to attack Spanish interests in the Pacific. In this he was successful, capturing a Spanish galleon carrying over £500,000 of treasure in 1744. However, over 700 men died during the voyage.

    Shortly after his return to England Anson was promoted to Rear Admiral of the White and subsequently in 1748 he was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty.

    Anson's experiences while sailing around the world were published in 1748 and became an early source of information on matters relating to the Pacific region. This engraving was published as Plate 19 in Anson's account - A Voyage Round the World in the years MDCCXL, I, II, III, IV, Printed for the author by John and Paul Knapton, London.

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