As far as auction houses go, Webb’s is a bit of an institution in New Zealand, having been founded in 1976 by art dealer Peter Webb. And, if you have a particular penchant for interior design, and even perhaps Captain Cook, you might be interested in its latest auction and sale launching tonight. As well as featuring a range of historical objects like masks and figurative bowls, the Oceanic & African Art exhibition and sale features an 18th Century embroidered silk waistcoat that its last three custodians are convinced once belonged to Captain James Cook. Lacking forensic evidence, it is the past collectors that give weight to this theory.The waistcoat connects the lives of three very interesting and well documented people; Captain James Cook, 1st Viscount Leverhulme and Dr Ruby Rich. It has been registered with the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney and Te Papa Tongarewa holds an 18th century waistcoat with similar provenance and vexed discourse.
And if you fancy finding out more about the mysterious waste coats origin, check out the video below.
In the meantime, you can view the auction catalogue here.
The Oceanic & African Art Sale goes on view this evening, with the preview and official opening from 5:30 – 7:30pm.