The artist William Hodges accompanied Captain Cook on his second voyage to the Pacific in 1772-74.
Son of a London metalworker, Hodges trained under Richard Wilson, an influential founder of the British school of landscape painting.
Artist of the Pacific
William Hodges himself, later rose to fame as the official artist on Cook's second expedition to the Pacific. The groundbreaking open-air methods that he developed has had a longstanding influence on the development of landscape art ever since.
Museum finds the only painting of the Antarctic
While exploring Hodges’ works, the head of oil painting conservation at the National Maritime Museum noticed some usual things, particularly in A view of Pickersgill Harbour, Dusky Bay (c. 1776). When it was X-rayed, we discovered that the rainforest depicted gave way to a startling view of Antarctic icebergs in a rough sea — the first-known oil painting of the Antarctic. It was apparently done at sea before reaching New Zealand: we can only guess why Hodges later painted over it.
Using our collections for research
The collections at Royal Museums Greenwich offer a world class resource for researching maritime history, astronomy and time.