Home South Seas Companion
Biographical entry

Home | Browse | Search | Previous | Next
Be a South Seas Companion Supporter

Buchan, Alexander (? - 1769)

Related Entries Online Sources Published Sources
Born: Scotland.  Died: 17 April 1769.
Buchan was employed by Joseph Banks as landscape artist aboard H.M.S. Endeavour on Cook's first Pacific Voyage.

Career Highlights
Virtually nothing is known about Alexander Buchan before he came aboard the Endeavour. Indeed, all we know is that he suffered from what appears to have been a severe form of epilepsy and yet was ready to risk the hardships and dangers of the voyage.

In his journal, Banks records that Buchan drew coastal views of the Cape Verde Islands, which are now lost. He also reports his having suffered an epileptic fit during an excursion into the foothills inland of the Bay of Success in western Tierra del Fuego on 16 January 1769.

The only other references in the records of the Endeavour voyage to Buchan are Cook and Banks's reports of his death on 17 April 1769 at Matavai Bay, and his burial at sea.

Buchan produced several important drawings of the people of the Bay of Success. One, inscribed 'An Indian Town at Terra del Fuego', was engraved by J. Newton as plate II in Parkinson's Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas (1773). Another drawing, titled, 'INHABITANTS of the Island of TERRA DEL FUEGO', was used by Giovanni Battista Cipriani, together with a study by Sydney Parkinson, as the basis for a wash and water colour drawing for Francesco Bartolozzi’s engraving in Hawkesworth's Account of the Voyages...to the Southern Hemisphere (1773), entitled 'A View of the Indians of Terra del Fuego in their hut'. This plate was designed to appear as the first plate in volume two of Hawkesworth's Account (Joppien and Smith, 1985: 1, pp. 80-92).

After Buchan’s death, his drawings came into Banks's possession. With the exception of several drawings of south Atlantic marine life now preserved with the drawings of Sydney Parkinson in the British Museum (Natural History), all of Buchan’s known drawings are now in the British Library. They are fully described by Joppien and Smith in volume one of their comprehensive survey of the art of the Cook voyages (Joppien and Smith, 1985).

Related Entries for Buchan, Alexander
Places: Anaa, Chain Island
Top of Page
Online Sources Published Sources
  • Hawkesworth, John, An account of the voyages undertaken by the order of His present Majesty, for making discoveries in the southern hemisphere, and successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret, and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour : drawn up from the journals which were kept by the several commanders and from the papers of Joseph Banks, Esq. Derived from the 1773 London edition, printed for W. Strahan and T. Cadell. National Library of Australian call number: FERG 7243., South Seas, 2004, http://southseas.nla.gov.au/index_voyaging.html. [ Details ]

Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields. Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Created: 16 October 2003
Modified: 5 May 2004

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000328

[ Top of page | South Seas Companion Home | Browse | Search ]