Let me begin with an apology for the long silence. Since we were last in communication,1 not much has been happening with the James Cook statue. The City of Corner Brook and the Corner Brook Stream Development Corporation have not been successful in raising the funding needed for the continuation and completion of the project. In the meantime, the park was finished (quite nicely, I must say) and the National Historic Site has been in operation without its centre piece.2
Ever since I began work on the project almost seven years ago, I have strongly believed that the story of Captain Cook in Newfoundland is important, worth telling and remembering. Despite the lack of funding, I decided to carry the project over utilizing personal finances and resources at my studio and foundry. This decision was fuelled not only by faith, but also by the fact that the rubber moulds, which were taken from the full-size clay sculpture almost four years ago, were deteriorating and were eventually going to be lost and with them all the work that had been done to date. I was also hoping that if I persisted and completed the bronze sculpture, an individual or group of people might be inspired and motivated to raise the balance.
About a year ago, at the request of the Corner Brook Stream Development Corporation, I reduced the price by 25% in an attempt to alleviate the fundraising burden and rekindle interest in the sculpture. However, gradually, this second burst of enthusiasm on the part of Corner Brook began to fade.
All avenues seemed to have been exhausted when a few months ago Elinor Ratcliffe (the major original contributor to the project, who put together the seed funding to launch it) informed me that she was prepared to singlehandedly donate the balance. At that time the sculpture was almost fully cast in bronze so I then assembled and finished it. It was delivered to the site in Corner Brook and installed. The official unveiling took place on Monday, August 20th.
Needless to say I am delighted with this turn of events. Due to the remarkable generosity of Ms. Ratcliffe, the Captain Cook statue has finally arrived at the Captain James Cook National Historic Site overlooking the Bay of Islands, from where the real man exactly 250 years ago was charting the coastline!
I hope you will be pleased with the fact that Newfoundland and Canada have recognized in a meaningful way the contributions of Captain James Cook to this province and country.
A TV report of the unveiling may still be available on the web site of NTV, St. John’s, Newfoundland at http://ntv.ca/?p=5923/
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 34, volume 35, number 4 (2012).
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