Talk: The Embroidery of Captain Cook’s Wife

Hear an expert embroiderer discuss the discoveries she made while re-creating a waistcoat and map sampler stitched by Elizabeth, wife of Captain James Cook.

  • When Thu 9 Feb 2017, 5:30–7:00pm
  • Where
    Te Huinga Centre, Level 3
  • Cost Public $15, Friends of Te Papa $10 (includes free parking)
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Alison Larkin describes how reproducing the two pieces revealed much about Elizabeth and James Cook, and the fabrics and fashions of the 18th century.

Alison came from England to Te Papa in 2015 to study an embroidered waistcoat said to have belonged to Captain Cook. She also visited Australia to see a waistcoat made from tapa cloth that Cook had brought back from his second voyage to Tahiti. Elizabeth was embroidering it when she heard the news of his shocking death.

Alison’s findings helped her re-create the tapa waistcoat and the map sampler, which traces Captain Cook’s voyages in stitch. Both have been displayed at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby, England.

As part of this illustrated talk, you can view Te Papa’s ‘Captain Cook waistcoat’ and the map sampler created by Alison.

See the ‘Captain Cook waistcoat’ on Collections Online

Read about three waistcoats connected to Cook – blog


Bookings essential. Follow the green ‘book now’ link at the top of this page.

You can also email or phone (04) 381 7051.

Waistcoat said to have been worn by Captain James Cook


Waistcoat said to have belonged to Captain James Cook, 1755–65 (detail). Maker unknown, England, maker unknown. Gift of Mrs T Matthews, 1967. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (PC001529)

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