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Campaign to Raise funds to Purchase Painting Succeeds

 
The National Portrait Gallery, London, and the National Museums & Galleries of Wales collaborated to acquire William Parry's group portrait of Omai, Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander. The original deadline of 12 July 2002 to raise GBP 1,815,750 to save the picture from going abroad was extended by six weeks but the full amount was not reached. A temporary export bar by the then Arts Minister was placed to allow further time, and the purchaser eventually withdrew the export application. The portrait was subsequently offered to an expanded consortium (of The National Portrait Gallery, the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby, and the National Museums & Galleries of Wales) at the reduced price of £950,000 and has now been acquired with the help of a generous grant of £155,000 from the National Art Collections Fund and the exceptional generosity of a number of private individuals, trusts and supporters of the three museums. The portrait, which was loaned to the National Portrait Gallery by Nevill Keating Pictures Ltd for the duration of the fund-raising campaign, will be on at the National Museums and Galleries of Wales from November, 2003 before being shown at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby from April 2004 for several years.
Joseph Banks (1743-1820) and the Swedish botanist Daniel Solander (1736-82) travelled on Captain Cook's First Voyage round the world on the Endeavour. Omai (c.1753-1776/7), was a Polynesian brought back to England on the Adventure, the second ship on Cook's Second Voyage. He was put into Banks and Solander's care after his arrival in 1774 and was returned to the South Seas by Cook on his Third Voyage.
William Parry (1742-1791) was a portrait and history painter. He trained and worked both in London and Italy, while retaining a professional practice in Wales. Parry was the son of John Parry (c. 1710 -1782), the 'Blind Harpist' who published the earliest collection of traditional Welsh airs. William Parry became a pupil of Reynolds in 1766 and remained a life-long associate. In 1770, with the support of Wales' most influential and wealthy patron, Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, Parry travelled to Italy. He returned in 1775, and shortly afterwards began work on this group portrait possibly as a result of rekindling his acquaintance with Reynolds who was then also painting Omai.
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