Cook's earth

Cook's earth

It may have taken Captain Cook years to complete but the voyages of Teesside’s most famous son can now be mapped out in a matter of minutes

Weighing over a ton-and-a-half, the bronze sculpture was designed by Newcastle-based artist Andrew Burton and celebrates the seaman’s life.

The sphere was initially made in wax with all the detail intricately carved out before it was cast in bronze at a foundry in Basingstoke and then transported back to Middlesbrough. The sextant was made at a foundry in South Shields and lifted into place by crane.

Andrew’s design is based on Cook’s three journeys around the earth with his route roughly picked out by bird’s feet. Special chemicals were put onto the surface to make the bronze go blue but like any natural product, it will change colour over time.

A brass plate inscribed with all the names of the places Cook visited completes the sculpture and runs around the bottom of the globe. Cook’s maritime explorations fundamentally expanded human understanding of the Earth and he accompanied by remarkable artists and scientists who recorded the many new discoveries in exquisite drawings and paintings, as well as collections of ethnological artefacts and biological specimens.

Cook himself was one of the great cartographers and his maps and journals show his respect and love for the lands he visited. Andrew’s sculpture continues this tradition with a modern twist as he used up-to-date computer-generated images of the seabed along with images, charts and journals from his original voyages.