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Waterfall in Dusky Bay with a Maori canoe

Oil paintings

Object connections:

Collection Oil paintings, Fine art
ExhibitionsThe Art and Science of Exploration, 1768-80
User collections Captain Cook's Second Voyage by NMMCollections
Gallery locationPacific Encounters Gallery (Floor plans)
PeopleLender: Ministry of Defence Art Collection

Object details:

Object ID BHC1908
Description Hodges' paintings of the Pacific are vivid records of British exploration. He was appointed by the Admiralty to record the places discovered on Cook's second voyage, undertaken in the 'Resolution' and 'Adventure', 1772-75. This was primarily in the form of drawings, with some oil sketches, many later converted to engravings in the official voyage account. He also completed large oil paintings for exhibition in London on his return, which exercised lasting influence on European ideas of the Pacific. The National Maritime Museum holds 26 oils relating to the voyage of which 24 were either painted for or acquired by the Admiralty. Cook's main purpose on this expedition was to locate, if possible, the much talked-of but unknown Southern Continent and further expand knowledge of the central Pacific islands, in which Hodges' records of coastal profiles were in part important for navigational reasons. The impact of this work on Hodges' painting is evident in his small studies that focus on the islands and coastlines. In this study of a Waterfall in Dusky Bay, New Zealand, Hodges uses warm light to pick out the dramatic topography. He combines accurate record with the romantic atmosphere that the crews felt in the bay. A pair with BHC1907, the two paintings are probably studies made back in England for larger works that Hodges never completed. Nevertheless he captures the light and landscape as vibrantly as in other studies known to have been made on the voyage. Hodges made a number of works that focused on Dusky Bay, the first landfall that Cook's ships made in March 1773 after an arduous tour of the Antarctic ice (see also BHC2370 and BHC2371). In all of these, he contrasts the grand and beautiful, but lonely scenery of New Zealand with dignified, yet dwarfed Maori figures. Here the Maori canoe appears insignificant against the powerful waterfall.
Date made circa 1775

Artist/Maker Hodges, William
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials oil on panel
Measurements Frame: 422 mm x 500 mm x 85 mm;Overall: 480 mm x 500 mm x 109 mm x 3.6 kg;Painting: 276 mm x 356 mm x 10 mm
  • Waterfall in Dusky Bay with a Maori canoe (BHC1908)
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