Sunday, August 29, 2010

Christie's Exploration and Travel with the Polar Sale Lot 29: Sydney Parkinson

Lot 69: Sydney Parkinson (1745-1771) is for a second edition copy of A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, In His Majesty's Ship The Endeavour. This one is kind of a stretch to say it is Antarctic related, but I think it has kind of an interesting connection to Antarctic history despite having no real connection to Antarctica. The journal was published based on Sydney Parkinson's papers from his time with James Cook's Endeavour Expedition (he died in 1771 before the expedition returned to England).

While Sydney Parkinson and the Endeavour never made it to Antarctica, part of the expedition's goal was to find Terra Australis Incognita. Ever since the 1st century there had been an idea that there was a big southern landmass, but no one had ever been to it. The Endeavour expedition did at points go into the Antarctic circle, but it happened to go farthest south where the continent did not come up as far. In fact by the time Antarctica was discovered in 1820 the whole idea of Terra Australis Incognita had been widely abandoned and Australia got its name as being the closest thing to the mythical southern continent.

The copy of the journal going up for auction on September 22, 2010 as part of Christie's Exploration and Travel with the Polar Sale is part of the Second Edition run of the book. The second edition is actually rarer than the first and also has much more in it. This edition includes early summaries of Cook's second (also involved looking for Terra Australis Incognita) and third voyages (involved looking for Northwest Passage). This copy is valued at £3,000 - £5,000 ($4,650 - $7,750).

Part of the journal is available to read on WikiSource here, but only the early sections.

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