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A Man of Prince William's Sound


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Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID PAI4170
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's traveled to Prince William Sound (Sandwich Sound), Alaska, from May 12-20, 1778. While on board, Webber made free sketches of local Indians. He was careful to depict their distinctive dress and ornamentation: their 'foul weather frocks', with hoods from the intestines of the whale, and their custom of slitting or piercing their underlip to fasten pieces of bones. This man is almost full-face but looking slightly towards the right. He wears a conical shaped basketry hat (with a chin-strap) which is decorated with geometrical designs near the top and glass beads on the crest around the rim. Plaided braid pendants are attached to his hair about his ears. He wears a moustache, a short beard, and a nose-ornament beaded at either end. The sitter may possibly be the man who came aboard the Resolution on 14 May 1778. Cook called him a 'good looking middle aged man . . . he was cloathed in a dress made of the Sea beaver skin and on his head such a cap as is worn by the people of King Georges Sound, Ornamented with sky blue glass beads about the size of a large pea.' Cook says of the inhabitants of Sandwich Sound in general terms: "Men, women and children were all cloathed alike, in a kind of frocks made of the skins of different animals... most of the men wore what Crantz calls a leather pelt, or rather a shirt made of the skin of large guts, probably those of the whale, they are made to draw tight round the neck, the sleeves reach as low as the wrist round which they are tied with a string [...] The men had beards though not large to which they hang beads or pieces of bone [...] Some both men and women have the underlip slit quite through horizontally, and so large as to admit the tongue which I have seen them thrust through." Mounted in album with PAI4078-PAI4169, PAI4171-PAI4214.; Page 214.; Plate No. 46.
Date made 1778

Artist/Maker Webber, John
Elder, James Basire the
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials engraving & etching
Measurements Sheet: 570 x 400 mm; Plate: 308 x 242 mm
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