Author(s): Frank Vorphal
At the tender age of seventeen, naturalist Georg Forster (1754-94) embarked with the famous Captain James Cook on a voyage around the world. During the trip, Forster explored recently discovered regions, including New Zealand, New Caledonia, Tahiti, and Tonga. Shortly after his return in 1775, Forster met in London with Prince Franz and Princess Louise of Anhalt-Dessau. There, Forster presented them with numerous Polynesian objects, which returned with the royal couple to the German town of W rlitz.
Today, amid resurgent interest in Forster and his work, those items, now known as the South Seas collection, are available to the public as part of Germany's first permanent Forster exhibition. Brimming with full-color images, Georg Forster is the catalog for the exhibition, which is housed in the palace of the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-W rlitz, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This book bursts to life with photographs, historic paintings, and drawings, as well as lively quotations by Forster and his contemporaries. From the grass skirt of a Tahitian dancer to maces from Tonga to an axe of jade-green nephrite from New Zealand, Georg Forster provides new perspectives on these priceless artifacts and vividly brings back to life Forster and Cook's momentous voyage.