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Monuments in Easter Island


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Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID PAI4054
Description This engraving, after drawings by artist William Hodges, is in John Hawkesworth's account (1773) of the voyages of Captain James Cook, Joseph Banks and Captain John Byron. 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. William Hodges (1744 - 1797) joined Cook's second expedition to the South Pacific as a draughtsman 1772-75 and was employed by the Admiralty in finishing his drawings. This is likely from Cook's visit to Easter Island in 1775. As written for in Hawkesworth's account: ' The pillars are burying places and Monuments. [...] These pillars stand on a kind of pedestall or stone elevation: in some places these elevations are made of regularly hewn square stones sitting as regularly & as finely as can be done by a Nation even with good tools. In what manner they contrived these structures is incomprehensible to me, for we saw no tools with them: however the Stone whereof these Walls & Images are made seems not to be of a great hardness for it is red, cavernous, brittle Iron-Stone or Tophus. The Images represent Men to their waist, the Ears are large & they are about 18 foot high & 5 foot wide; they are ill-shaped & have a large solid bonnet on their head like some of the old Egyptian divinities; the bonnet I measured was above 5 foot diameter, & I observed in the Center on each side a hold.' J.R. Forster, 15 March 1774 This is the second of two such engravings. Mounted in album with PAI3938-PAI4053, PAI4055-PAI4076.; Page 103.; Plate No. XIX.
Date made 1 Feb 1777

Artist/Maker Woollett, William
Strahan, William
Cadell, Thomas
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials engraving & etching
Measurements Sheet: 253 x 403 mm; Plate: 240 x 387 mm
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