Mains'l Haul - Cook, Melville & Gauguin. Three Voyages to Paradise.

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Vol. 47: 3 & 4
Summer/Fall 2011

Cook, Melville, and Gauguin: Voyages to Paradise
Treasures of the Kelton Collection

For most people, no matter their nationality or background, there exists some conventional definition of earthly paradise. It is typically an island setting with dramatic vegetated landscapes garnished with waterfalls, surrounded by an azure lagoon and bounded by a fringing coral reef on which the sea forever sounds a calming rhythmic beat. The weather is temperate, the water warm, there is always plenty of food easily obtained; the inhabitants are friendly, relaxed, uninhibited, healthy, happy, and attractive. The sunsets are always beautiful. The place might be anywhere in the tropics, but the most likely setting for this fanciful setting is somewhere in the Pacific. If we do insist on giving it a name, Tahiti might be the foremost candidate.

This issue of Mains'l Haul catalogs items from this groundbreaking exhibit at the Maritime Museum. Featuring life stories of Paul Gauguin, as well as Captain James Cook, and Herman Melville. Some of these items have never been in public display before.