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Woman of New Caledonia


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Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID PAI4100
Description This engraving, likely after a drawing by artist William Hodges, comes from the official account of Cook's second voyage, 'A Voyage towards the South Pole', published by Strahan and Cadell in 1777. 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. Cook traveled to New Caledonia in September of 1774. As recorded in Hawkesworth's account: Cook made references to New Caledonian coiffure and housing: 'Some wear it long [i.e. hair] . . . others again and those are not a few, and likewise all the women, wear it crop'd short [...] She has short hair and three vertical lines tattooed between the lower lib and the chin; the earlobe is pierced and elongated." 'Their houses, or at least most of them, are like Beehives. See drawing N. 53.' Before he left New Caledonia, Hodges completed, as he had at Tana, a portrait of a typical man and a typical woman of the island. They are highly competent works, but wholly impersonal. Melanesians, it seems, made no personal impression upon him. These portraits are in a sense a return to that venerable tradition of ethnographic topography which we discussed at the beginning. This is the first of two such engravings. Mounted in album with PAI4078-PAI4099, PAI4101-PAI4214.; Page 146.; No. 48.
Date made 16 Jul 1776

Artist/Maker Hall, John
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials engraving & etching
Measurements Sheet: 536 x 347 mm; Plate: 304 x 252 mm
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