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Plates to South Sea Voyages, Volume I

Date: 1688 - 1852
Overall: 25 x 280 x 445 mm, 1.8 kg
Display Dimensions: 283 x 20 x 441 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00000363

User Terms

    A book of engravings based on the original works by artist William Hodges who was the official artist on Cook's second voyage. This volume of views is a pictorial record of Cook's second voyage with additional charts and plans of Polynesian canoes.
    SignificanceBased on the work of voyage artist William Hodges, these views are a significant addition to the written account of Cook's second voyage.
    HistoryThe purpose of Cook's second expedition was to search the southern ocean for Terra Australis Incognita - the continent supposed by some geographers to exist in the southern hemisphere and to act as a balance to northern hemisphere land masses. Cook's ships spent considerable time in testing conditions in high southern latitudes, punctuated by periods of respite in Polynesia. It was during these later visits to the Pacific islands that the Polynesian man Omai joined the ADVENTURE when Cook's expedition anchored at Fare Harbour on the island of Huahine for four days (3-7 September 1773). Cook described Omai: "...this man had been on board the ADVENTURE from the first hour of her arrival at the island, it being known to all the natives that he intended to go away with us, without being demanded and as Captain Furneaux being desirous of keeping him, I did not think it necessary to send him on shore ..." [The Journals of Captain James Cook on his Voyages of Discovery, The Voyage of the RESOLUTION and ADVENTURE 1772-1775, JC Beaglehole (Ed), The Boydell Press, p.221]

    After leaving Huahine, the RESOLUTION and ADVENTURE visited the neighbouring island of Raiatea (Ulietea) before sailing to the Tongan archipelago (Friendly Isles) where the ships anchored at Eua island (2 Oct)and Tongatapu (3 - 7 Oct 1773).

    From Tongatapu the ships sailed for Queen Charlotte Sound in New Zealand but became separated by a gale before they could enter Cook Strait. The RESOLUTION finally anchored at Ship Cove in Princess Charlotte Sound on 3 November (1773) where Cook waited for the ADVENTURE until 24 November. As Furneaux had not arrived, Cook left a message in a bottle buried with signs for Furneaux to find it and then departed for a further sweep of the Pacific. The ADVENTURE arrived at Ship Cove six days after Cook had departed.

    Furneaux then set about replenishing the ADVENTURE and readying the ship to rendezvous with Cook at either Easter Island or Tahiti later in the year. However, these plans were changed when a boat party sent ashore to collect 'wild greens' (antiscorboutics) was horribly massacred on 17 December. Deeply affected by this event, Furneaux decided to sail for England and departed Princess Charlotte Sound on 23 December. The ADVENTURE returned to England by Cape Horn and Cape Town and arrived in England in July 1774.

    Cook and the RESOLUTION finally returned to England in July 1775. After comprehensively searching the southern latitudes Cook was able to say definitively that if a great southern continent existed, it was so far south as to be uninhabitable. The voyage was a triumph for Cook which secured his fame. Shortly after his return he was promoted Post Captain and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and awarded the Society's highest honour, the Copley Gold Medal for his work on overcoming scurvy.

    William Hodges was born in London in 1744. His artistic talent was recognized while working as an errand boy at a drawing school and he became an assistant to the painter Richard Wilson between 1763 and 1766. In 1772 he was selected to join Cook's voyage and sailed aboard the RESOLUTION until its return to England in 1775. He was then employed by the Admiralty to finish his drawings and to supervise the engraving of them for the published voyage account.
    In 1776 he exhibited a view of Otaheiti at the Royal Academy and later some views of New Zealand and elsewhere. In 1778, he went to India under the patronage of Governor Warren Hastings and remained there for six years. The results of this period were published in his account 'Travels in India' in 1793.
    He was made a member of the Royal Academy in 1786. Hodges died in 1797.
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