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Rare scenic wallpaper portraying Captain Cook's travels acquired by Te Papa

Wallpaper illustrating Captain James Cook's voyages around the Pacific from 1768-1779 have been acquired by Te Papa.

Wallpaper of Captain Cook's voyages Source: 1 NEWS

The Dufour wallpaper, featuring stories which captivated the public of the time, are the only example of its kind in New Zealand.

It's a big piece of art - five sections consisting of 18 strips, with the total size being two metres high x 10 metres long.

Te Papa purchased the artwork from Sydney for $250,000 NZD.

"It's particulalry interesting to us here in New Zealand because it pictures people from the Pacific so it really demonstrates that intense interest in the Pacific that followed in the wake of Cook's voyages," says Te Papa's curator Rebecca Rice.

The museum purchased the unique piece for $230,000. Source: 1 NEWS

The wallpaper was painstakingly created with hundreds of wooden blocks to achieve an incredibly nuanced illustration.

Stencils and handpainting complete the art work.

It was made by French company, Joseph Dufour and Co, in 1804/5. 

Depictions of travels to exotic lands were popular in the era following the return of Cook, and other European explorers, from the New World.

A period of intensive conservation work by Te Papa's conservators is required before the artwork can be displayed to the public in 2019, in time to commemorate the 250 year anniversary of Cook's arrival in the Pacific.

It’s a big piece of art - five sections consisting of 18 strips, with the total size being 2m high x 9 metres long (approx.). Te Papa purchased the art work from Sydney for $250,000 NZD.
It’s a big piece of art - five sections consisting of 18 strips, with the total size being 2m high x 9 metres long (approx.). Te Papa purchased the art work from Sydney for $250,000 NZD.