Fall and expulsion is based on Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourge (1740–1812) and John Webber’s (1752–1793) engraving The apotheosis of Captain Cook 1794 in the Rex Nan Kivell Collection at the National Library of Australia, Canberra. Boyd challenges the allegorical nature of the engraving, which deiﬁes Captain James Cook, by alluding to the biblical story of Adam and Eve being banished from paradise, which is symbolised by the inclusion of the parrot. The artist also considers the parrot is a symbol of freedom, through ﬂight.
Fall and expulsion references a pantomime performed at Covent Gardens on 20 December 1785. My image is a cross between a watercolour, which I discovered in the book Captain Cook and the South Paciﬁc – the third volume in a series of yearbooks from the British Museum – and the print, The apotheosis of Captain Cook, which is held in the National Library’s of Australia’s collection.
The pantomime was one of the decade’s [1780s] most successful productions, being performed a year and a half after the ofﬁcial accounts of Cook’s third Paciﬁc voyage had been released by the admiralty.
The image is turned on its side to show Cook falling from [God’s] Grace, and Fame’s wings have been taken away from her, rendering her ﬂightless. The Parrot is a symbol of paradise, free from No Beard’s possession.
Daniel Boyd, 2006