'View of part of Owharre [Fare] Harbour, Island of Huahine'

Hodges' paintings of the Pacific are vivid records of 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, with some oil sketches, many later converted to engravings in the official voyage account. He also completed large oil paintings for exhibition in London on his return, which exercised lasting influence on European ideas of the Pacific. 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. One of Hodges’ tasks on the ship was the routine training of officers to make such profiles. The impact of this work on his painting is evident in his small oil studies of the islands and coastlines.

This is one of two similar canvases painted on the spot during Cook’s second voyage (see also BHC2419). 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, combining thinly painted skies with shimmering water, and thick impasto on the headlands, waters and local craft.

Object Details

ID: BHC2418
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Display - Pacific Encounters Gallery
Creator: Hodges, William
Date made: 1774
Exhibition: Art for the Nation; Ministry of Defence Art Collection The Art and Science of Exploration, 1768-80
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Painting: 490 mm x 645 mm; Frame: 615 mm x 780 mm x 100 mm; Frame inc.cartouche: 670 mm x 780 mm x 100 mm;Weight: 10.2 kg;

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