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The Fleet of Otaheite assembled at Oparee


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Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID PAI4065
Description This engraving, after a drawing by artist William Hodges, is in John Hawkesworth's account (1773) of the voyages of Captain James Cook, Joseph Banks and Captain John Byron. Captain James Cook (1728-1779) made three separate voyages to the Pacific (with the ships Endeavour, Resolution, Adventure, and Discovery) and did more than any other voyager to explore the Pacific and Southern Ocean. Cook not only encountered Pacific cultures for the first time, but also assembled the first large-scale collections of Pacific objects to be brought back to Europe. He was killed in Hawaii in 1779. Otaheite (Tahiti) was originally named Port Royal Harbour in King George the Third's Island by Captain Samuel Wallis (1728-1795). William Hodges (1744 - 1797) joined Cook's second expedition to the South Pacific as a draughtsman 1772-75 and was employed by the Admiralty in finishing his drawings. Cook described the Otaheite war canoes as containing 16 paddlers, warriors in ceremonial dress on the fighting stage, and a man with a 'wand' directing the paddlers. This sketch was likely used for Hodges' Review of the War Galleys at Tahiti. Its intention was not to depict a particular occasion but to evoke the climate and social ethos of Tahiti as Hodges had experienced and remembered it. This is the first of two such engravings. Mounted in album with PAI3938-PAI4064, PAI4066-PAI4076.; Page 113.
Date made 1 Feb 1777

Artist/Maker Strahan, William
Woollett, William
Cadell, Thomas
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials engraving & etching
Measurements Sheet: 350 x 545 mm; Plate: 247 x 400 mm
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