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William Hodges, View of part of Owharre (Fare) Harbour, Island of Huahine, 1774


William Hodges, View of part of Owharre (Fare) Harbour, Island of Huahine, 1774



Hodges's paintings of the Pacific celebrate 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, many later converted to engravings in the official account of the voyage. He also did some oil paintings on the voyage but most, especially the larger ones, were painted in London on his return. 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. This canvas, along with BHC2419, was painted on the spot during Cook’s second voyage. Such paintings show the influence of the shipboard practice of taking coastal profiles, a technique in which officers were routinely trained: teaching it was one of Hodges’ tasks on the ship. However, these are strikingly unconventional departures from the artistic tradition of landscape painting. Above all, they show a western artist’s attempts to come to terms for the first time with the effects of light in the southern hemisphere.





National Maritime Museum

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