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A Woman of Eaoo


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Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID PAI4148
Description This engraving after a drawing by John Webber 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 from 1776-1780. Cook was in Eua (also known as Middleburg), Tonga from the 12th-17th of July, 1777. Thomas Edgar, Master of the Discovery, wrote of the island that it 'affords some of the most romantic and beautiful valleys in the world... there is great abundance of every thing for it's inhabitants the walks are enchanting and the whole island is a little paradise.' No drawing of Euan landscape by Webber has survived. On July 16 Webber did complete a pencil and wash drawing of a young woman with long hair, bare breasts and a double necklace composed of pearls or berries. That Eua was represented by a woman may have been due to the fact that so far in the 'official' programme a portrait of a woman of Tonga was lacking. The beauty of the woman was often commented upon and Clerke stated that 'these people . . . surpass in beauty every Nation I ever yet met with." Mounted in album with PAI4078-PAI4147, PAI4149-PAI4214.; Page 192.; Plate No. 23.
Date made July 1777

Artist/Maker Webber, John
Hall, John
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials engraving & etching
Measurements Sheet: 570 x 400 mm; Plate: 290 x 227 mm
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