'Apia Bay, Upolu, Navigators' Islands [Samoa] Septr 18th 1849'

No. 24 in Fanshawe's Pacific album, 1849 - 52. Captioned by the artist on the album page below the image, as title. Reproduced in Fanshawe's biography (1904), f. p. 216. Upolu is the eastern of the two islands which now comprise the independent state of Samoa: Savai'i to the west is the other. Both were formerly known as Western or German Samoa. Apia on the north coast of Upolu is the capital but did not begin to develop beyond the village shown here until the 1850s. The whole Samoa group, including what remains American Samoa, was called the Navigators' Islands by Europeans before the 20th century because of the local seafaring skills. Two local outrigger canoes are shown in the foreground.

Fanshawe arrived in HMS 'Daphne' on 13 September, on his diplomatic visitation, initially meeting George Pritchard, the British Consul at Samoa, who also had authority to visit the Tonga and Fiji groups. Upolu was at this time at the end of a period of local war, which Fanshawe applied diplomatic pressure to try and help resolve, though his views of Pritchard - a much more controversial character than the young captain recognized - underestimated his local role (not least as a private trader in guns): this led to Pritchard's replacement in 1856. He described the island itself as 'much more luxuriantly wooded than the Society Islands, and ...extremely beautiful' (Fanshawe [1904] p. 216) and, despite the recent conflict, admired the neatness and civil order he observed ashore. On 19 September, taking Pritchard in his official capacity, Fanshawe sailed for a call at Savai'i, before proceeding to Fiji and Tonga. He returned Pritchard to Apia early in November.

One of four views in Samoa done while Fanshawe commanded the 'Daphne': three were done at or near Apia, on Upolu in September 1849 (PAI4628 - PAI4630) and PAI4640 in November, on return there. Only PAI4630 shows Savai'i.

Object Details

ID: PAI4629
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Fanshawe, Edward Gennys
Places: Apia
Date made: 18 Sep 1849
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Sheet: 182 x 326 mm
Parts: Album of watercolours of Madeira, Brazil, the Falkland and Pacific Islands, Chile, Panama, Mexico, Vancouver, and California (Album)

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