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Natives of the Molucca Islands Playing on Musical Instruments called the Rabana

Date: 1782
Dimensions:
Overall: 226 x 361 mm, 0.006 kg
Sheet: 226 x 361 mm
Image: 151 x 265 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Art
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00018948
Place Manufactured:London

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    Description
    Chronicles about travel and exploration became very popular in Great Britain during the second half of the eighteenth century. This portrait is believed to have been engraved originally circa. 1778 to be used in John Hamilton Moore's 'A New and Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels'. The version that appears in this collection, however, was engraved by Daniel Lerpiniere and appears to have been published circa. 1782. The overhead title, together with the style of border suggests that it was part of 'Millar's New & Complete Universal System of Geography' by George Henry Millar et al; an edition which was published by Alexander Hogg in London in 1782. This book claims to include "... the most remarkable voyages and travels... from the earliest times to the present year…"
    SignificanceMillar's New & Complete Universal System of Geography has been regarded as one of the finest geographical works ever published. It is also an exceedingly useful text to consult when considering English mentalities and perceptions of European colonial outposts and their native inhabitants during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This particular engraving is also very useful in its historic depiction (if be it a Eurocentric depiction) of the Maluku Islands (also known as the Moluccas, Moluccan Islands, the Spice Islands or simply Maluku) which have a prominent place in both European colonial history and Indonesian history.
    HistoryHistorical Background of the Publication:

    Chronicles about travel and exploration became very popular in Great Britain during the second half of the eighteenth century. In part, this was due to the increasing amount of knowledge British geographers had at their finger tips (the Age of Discovery was slowly drawing to a close). The ascendancy of the British Empire in the face of the decline of the Dutch East India Company had also become a strong source of national pride for British people who would, therefore, have been compelled to learn more about their growing Empire on which the sun never seemed to set.

    This portrait was originally engraved circa. 1778 to be used in Master of The Academy at Brentford, John Hamilton Moore's 'A New and Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels' which was purported to describe, "…in the most accurate manner, every place worthy of notice, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America ..." This included descriptions, images and accounts of voyages by James Cook, Tobias Furneaux, Ferdinand Magellan, Francis Drake, George Anson, William Dampier, Samuel Wallis and other great explorers. The work was, according to Moore, "…embellished with a superb and elegant set of copper plate engravings and maps". The book was published in London by Alexander Hogg, a bookseller and publisher of the period.

    It has become obvious, however, that this engraving was subsequently used by other authors in other publications (engravers making facsimiles of pre-existing works was a fairly standard practice). The version that appears in this collection appears to have been published circa. 1782 and there are subtle differences to the original, including a different title above the images and the addition of some elaborate border art to the 1782 version. The portraits themselves, however, together with the subtitles, remain the same in both versions.

    The overhead title, together with the style of border suggests that this particular engraving was part of 'Millar's New & Complete Universal System of Geography' by George Henry Millar et al; an edition of which was indeed published by Alexander Hogg in London in 1782. As with Hamilton Moore's previous work, this book claims to include "... the most remarkable voyages and travels... from the earliest times to the present year…"

    The only clue as to this engraving's artist is the name 'Lerpiniere' (who, while he may be the artist of this particular copy, was not necessarily involved in the creation of the original 1778 version). It is fairly safe to assume that this is referring to Daniel Lerpiniere, a noted English engraver and pupil of French engraver Francois Vivarès (1709-1780) who was born circa. 1745 and died in 1785. He is sometimes associated with having been involved with the visual chronicling the voyages of Captain James Cook's and this particular engraving is known to have been republished in 1785 in Alexander Hogg's original six-volume edition of 'Cook's Voyages' (in exactly the same format as the 1782 version, albeit minus the 'Millar's New & Complete Universal System of Geography' heading.)
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