The head of a New Zealander by Sydney Parkinson

The head of a New Zealander, with a comb in his hair, an ornament of green stone in his ear, and another of a fish's tooth round his neck, 1773, engraving from a wash drawing made by Sydney Parkinson on Cook’s first voyage, now in the British Library.

Sydney Parkinson (c.1745–71) was draughtsman to the botanist Sir Joseph Banks on James Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific in 1768. He was the author of A journal of a voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty’s ship the Endeavour, published in 1773. Twelve of the 27 plates in this book relate to New Zealand. Parkinson died of dysentery in 1771, on the homeward voyage, and the book was published by his brother Stanfield.

Parkinson’s portraits of Māori warriors were the first visual record of the physiognomy, tattoo patterning, dress and ornament of Māori to be seen in Europe.

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