The full title of the book is as follows: 'A catalogue of the different specimens of cloth collected in the three voyages of Captain Cook, to the Southern Hemisphere: with a particular account of the manner of the manufacturing the same in various Islands of the South Seas; partly extracted from Mr. Anderson and Reinhold Forster's observations, and the verbal account of some of the most knowing of the navigators: with some anecdotes that happened to them among the natives'. London: Arranged and printed for Alexander Shaw, 1787.
|Ref: 7-C1922, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
Initially 30 copies of Shaw's catalogue were known to have survived, but a more recent estimate by Ian Morrison (see article below) gives a figure of 45, held in institutions world-wide. However, a rather more recent reckoning has pushed this number to 47. This does not take into account various copies (five so far), that have been offered up by antiquarian dealers (in parts or whole).
Dr Kerr intends to contact those institutions known to have copies, as listed in the bibliographies and sourced articles. He is also keen for any other institutions or individuals to contact him about any other copies out there.
Whilst Dr Kerr does intend to carry out a full descriptive census of the tapa cloth books himself, the work of tracking down institutions with copies would definitely help a future researcher to undertake the job of examining all copies in detail. What a great project!
For those intrigued by this wonderful Cook-related item, Dr Kerr recommends three relatively contemporary articles:
- Ian Morrison, 'The Cloth, the Catalogue, and the Collectors' in Bulletin (Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand), vol. 27 no.3 and 4 (2003), pp.48-59
- Maryanne Larkin, 'Tales and Textiles from Cook's Pacific Voyages' in Bulletin (Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand), v.28, no.4, 2004, p.20-33
- Louise Wilson, 'An investigation into the origin of the Tapa specimens collected by Captain Cook on his three voyages to the Pacific' in Bulletin (Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand), v.27, no.3-4, 2003, pp.60-70.