Scope and content
In 1793, the Society's Gold Medal was adjudged to Captain William Bligh RN, Master of HMS Providence, for his success, the previous year, 'in conveying from the Islands in the South Sea, to...the Islands in the West Indies subject to the Crown of Great Britain, the Breadfruit Tree, in a growing state'. The picture depicts the scene of Bligh's arrival in the West Indies, where in fact he delivered a great variety of plants, in addition to breadfruit, at St Vincent's and Jamaica. Bligh is the officer in the central foreground, carrying a telescope. Bligh had first visited the South Seas as Captain Cook's sailing-master in the Resolution in 1772-74 and it was during this expedition that the breadfruit trees was discovered at Otaheite. His first attempt to transplant it, whilst Master of the Bounty in 1788-89, ended in the notorious mutiny. a hydrographer and botanist of distinction as well as a thoroughly competent seaman, he was in later life elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. After his unhappy experiences as Governor of New South Wales in 1808-1810, he returned to England, was promoted to Flag rank and died in December 1817. 39,000 copies sold.