Lecture: Stitches in Time – the embroidery of Captain Cook’s wife

Thursday 9 February 2017, 5:30pm – 7pm, Te Papa, Wellington

Alison Larkin is an award winning embroiderer from Hull, England, who explores history through her needle and thread. In 2015 Alison received the Janet Arnold award for costume research from the Society of Antiquaries of London to visit Australia and New Zealand to study three waistcoats associated with Captain James Cook, including one in Te Papa’s collection and one embroidered by Cook’s wife, Elizabeth.

Alison Larkin stitching as Elizabeth Cook in 18th century costume.

Alison Larkin stitching as Elizabeth Cook in 18th century costume. Photo courtesy of Alison Larkin.

Alison is visiting New Zealand again this February, and will present an illustrated talk on her findings at Te Papa. In her lecture she will focus in particular on Elizabeth Cook whose embroidery reflected the travels of her adventurous husband. Elizabeth traced her husband’s voyages in stitch on a map sampler, and was embroidering a waistcoat made from tapa cloth that Cook had bought back from his voyage to Tahiti, when she heard the news of his shocking death.

Alison has patiently re-created these two pieces, both of which have been exhibited at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby, England. Through the process of recreation she has discovered much about these two inspiring historical figures, Georgian dress, embroidery and fabrics.  

Alison Larkin’s replica of Captain Cook’s waistcoat on display at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby, 2015. Photo courtesy of Alison Larkin.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to view items from Te Papa’s collection.

Book your place through the Friends of Te Papa.

For more information on Alison Larkin’s Cook project visit Te Papa’s blog.

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