||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's traveled to Nootka Sound (King George's Sound), Vancouver Island, on the north-west coast of America between March 29-April 26th, 1778.
Some of Webber's drawings can be dated precisely to 22 April. when he accompanied Cook to the village of Yuquot, where 'every thing that was curious both within and without doors' was drawn.
Interiors had always been of interest in the recording of indigenious people, but rarely had it been possible to base them on reliable evidence. To make good the deficiency interiors were often 'invented' according to prevailing European taste, as was the case with Bernard Picart's drawing 'North American Indians in a hut.' Only in the second half of the 18th C. do we begin to obtain accurate images of such interiors. To depict them faithfully professional skill and sufficient element of trust between the indigenous and the Europeans was essentails. With Webber's interior a new stage of realism is attained.
His interior accords with several verbal descriptions by Cook and his companions: the natives' method of cooking, the rows of smoked salmon under the ceiling, the opening of the roof for the entry of light, the Indians seated on mats, their occupation at weaving, and the 'idols' at the back of the room.
The idol figures were called Ackweeks, which signifies supreme or chief.
Cook rightly assumed that these huts were only temporary habitations for the Indians when they lived on the coast.
Mounted in album with PAI4078-PAI4165, PAI4167-PAI4214.; Page 210.; Plate No. 42.