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Watercolours completed aboard HMS TAGUS

Date: 1814
Overall: 9 x 295 x 237 mm, 350 g
Medium: Paper, watercolour, ink, pencil, board
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Watercolour album
Object No: 00006038

User Terms

    An album featuring twenty five watercolours completed between 31 May and 4 August 1814 aboard HMS TAGUS during its voyage to the Pacific.

    Included are images of islands such as the Marquesas Islands, Pitcairn's Island, Santa Christina Island, Enchanted Island, Galapagos Islands, Charles Island, Barrington Island, and Chatham Islands.
    SignificanceThis is an interesting visual account of the voyage of HMS TAGUS to the Pacific in search of the American frigate ESSEX. It is a reminder of the conflict between British and American mariners in the Pacific region in the early 19th century.
    HistoryIn 1814, HMS TAGUS accompanied HMS BRITON to the Pacific Ocean in search of the American frigate ESSEX, which had been whaling in the region and disrupting British shipping. During the voyage the ships came across Pitcairn's Island, which had been isolated since the visit of the American whaling ship TOPAZ in 1808 - the first ship to visit the island since 1790 when it was settled by the BOUNTY mutineers and a group of Polynesians.

    When HM Ships TAGUS and BRITON arrived in 1814 only one of the original BOUNTY mutineers had survived - John Adams (alias Alexander Smith). Despite Pitcairn Island's past of murder, suicide and violence the Captains of BRITON, Sir Thomas Staines and TAGUS, Captain Pipon viewed the island in a favourable light. John Adams had attempted to build a self sufficient community with Christian values, and the Captains argued it would be inhumane to arrest the population.

    The visit of HM Ships TAGUS and BRITON instigated an increase in contact between Pitcairn Island and the outside world. Inquisitive crews from America, Britain and Australia travelling on the Pacific trade route regularly stopped, making additional reports that presented a positive view of the islands' inhabitants. In 1887 Pitcairn Island was formally decreed a British settlement under the British Settlements Act. Today it is still inhabited by some 50 descendants of the BOUNTY mutineers.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Watercolours completed aboard HMS TAGUS

    Primary title: Views from the HMS TAGUS (twenty-five paintings of the South American Coastline and Pacific Islands)

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