||This engraving, likely after a drawing by artist William Hodges,comes from the official account of Cook's second voyage, 'A Voyage towards the South Pole', published by Strahan and Cadell in 1777.
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.
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 traveled to New Caledonia in September of 1774. As recorded in Hawkesworth's account:
No original drawing by Hodges related to this engraving is known to exist. It was probably based on the drawing, now lost, referred to by Cook as 'no 53' to illustrate his references to New Caledonian coiffure and housing: 'Some wear it long [i.e. hair] . . . others again and those are not a few, and likewise all the women, wear it crop'd short.'
'Their houses, or at least most of them, are like Beehives. See drawing N. 53.'
Before he left New Caledonia, Hodges completed, as he had at Tana, a portrait of a typical man and a typical woman of the island. They are highly competent works, but wholly impersonal. Melanesians, it seems, made no personal impression upon him. These portraits are in a sense a return to that venerable tradition of ethnographic topography which we discussed at the beginning. It is particularly obvious in the drawing of the Man of New Caledonia in the presentation of a frontal and profile view on the one sheet. The physiognomic interests of the scientists rather than the personal reactions of the artist are once again beginning to hold sway.
This is the first of two such engravings.
Mounted in album with PAI4078-PAI4097, PAI4099-PAI4214.; Page 144.; No. 39.