Oil paintings, Fine art, Maritime Art Greenwich

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View of the Islands of Otaha [Taaha] and Bola Bola [Bora Bora] with Part of the Island of Ulietea [Raiatea]

Oil paintings

Object details:

Object ID BHC2376
Description Hodges's paintings of the Pacific celebrate British exploration. He was appointed by the Admiralty to record the places discovered on Cook's second voyage, undertaken in the 'Resolution' and 'Adventure', 1772-75. This was primarily in the form of drawings, many later converted to engravings in the official account of the voyage. He also did some oil paintings on the voyage but most, especially the larger ones, were painted in London on his return. The National Maritime Museum holds 26 oils relating to the voyage of which 24 were either painted for or acquired by the Admiralty. Cook's main purpose on this expedition was to locate, if possible, the much talked-of but unknown Southern Continent and further expand knowledge of the central Pacific islands, in which Hodges' records of coastal profiles were in part important for navigational reasons. This view is a pendant piece with BHC2375 and may have been painted looking north-west from the 'Resolution' in Haamanino Harbour in September 1773. The canvas is very thinly painted with contrasting shades of blue for the water and sky. The mountainous island of Taaha is silhouetted against a rose-coloured sky that almost obscures the profile of the distant island of Porapora. The prominence of light towards the horizon and the bright streaks of pink in the left-hand part of the picture reveal Hodges's response to the opulence of the tropical sunset and his departure from classical compositional formulae. The freshness of this painting, its topographical accuracy and treatment of light imply that it was done on the spot. It is one of a group of four paintings of the Society Islands made in August-September 1773; all are of similar dimensions and employ similar canvas and painterly techniques.
Date made 1773

Artist/Maker Hodges, William
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Ministry of Defence Art Collection
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Overall: 500 mm x 612 mm x 105 mm x 5.8 kg; Painting: 345 x 516 mm; Frame: 450 mm x 612 mm x 78 mm
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