||This engraving comes from the official account of Cook's third voyage, 'A voyage to the Pacific Ocean', published by Scatcherd and Whitaker in 1784.
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.
John Webber was the artist on Cook's third voyage.
Van Dieman's Island was the original name used for what is now Tasmania, part of Australia. The ships were stationed here betwee January 24th-30th, 1777. In 1803 the island was colonised as a penal colony by the British.
In Hawkesworth's account, it is noted that the apparent lack of shame with which the Tasmanians presented themselves gave rise to astonishment. Samwell observed that the men were constantly employed in pulling or playing with the prepuce. Of course, it was an act not normally depicted in either history or portrait painting; and Webber did not portray it.
Mounted in album with PAI4078-PAI4124, PAI4126-PAI4214.; Page 169.; Plate No. 6.