'Fautaua, Tahiti, Augt 25th 1849' [Society Islands]

No. 14 in Fanshawe's Pacific album, 1849 - 52. Captioned by the artist on the page below the image, as title. This drawing is reproduced in Fanshawe's biography (1904) f. p. 196, on which he recounts his visit to the scene, apparently on the 22nd, though the drawing appears to have been made or at least finished during his brief postponement of departure from Tahiti on the 25th August (see PAI4617). Fautaua had been a strongpoint in Tahitian rebellion against the French some years before. '[We] walked to Fautaua, with a strapping native to carry us over the river, which has to be crossed several times in ascending the ravine. The scenery as the valley is ascended became very grand, particularly in approaching the Post. This appears to be impregnable if properly defended. The Tahitians...thought it to be so, but neglected to occupy a steep precipitous crag which rises behind it, the path over which was betrayed to the French by a native of another island who had been some time on Tahiti... When the Tahitians saw the French above them they immediately surrendered and the insurrection was at an end. The French have now a subaltern's detachment there... [and] he took me to down to see some curious caverns, in which the stream seems to rest before it makes a perpendicular leap of eight hundred or a thousand feet into the valley below. We then ascended above his Post by a path leading up the crag to a platform and flagstaff, whence there is a fine view down the valley to the sea on one side and up to the Crown Mountain.' The path leading round to the left in the drawing suggests the viewpoint may be from the 'post' mentioned. This is one of a group of 11 Fanshawe drawings of the Society Islands, PAI4616 - PAI426: four show Tahiti (PAI4617 - PAI4620).

Object Details

ID: PAI4619
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Fanshawe, Edward Gennys
Places: Tahiti
Date made: 25 Aug 1849
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Sheet: 227 x 325 mm
Parts: Album of watercolours of Madeira, Brazil, the Falkland and Pacific Islands, Chile, Panama, Mexico, Vancouver, and California (Album)

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