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First edition print from Cook’s second voyage on which he was directed to circumnavigate the globe as far south as possible to search for any southern continent. William Hodges (1744 – 1797) joined Cook’s second expedition to the South Pacific as a draughtsman 1772-75 and was employed by the Admiralty in finishing his drawings. His drawings were likely completed in the Society Islands during late August and mid-September 1773. It was in the Society Islands that the most cordial relations were established with local inhabitants, and it was here that Hodges was able to produce a fine series of portraits of Tahitians, several of whom were well-known personalities to members of Cook’s company. This included Tynai Mai, a young beauty who was much admired and who danced for Cook’s company in Raiatea. Tynai Mai was the daughter of Orio, chief of Raiatea. She is described in Hawkesworth’s account: ‘Mr Hodges took the opportunity of drawing a sketch of her portrait, which her vivacity and restless disposition rendered almost impossible.’ G. Forster (10 September 1773) ‘on their heads they had a high twist or turbant of plaited hair; on the crown in the circle between ye plaited hair all was filled with Cape Jasmin flowers & the front of the bunch of plaited hair was ornamented with 3 or 4 rows of the white flowers of the Morinda citrifolia, which looked so pretty as if the head had been set of by pearls’.
This fascinating, first edition folio engraving is from Captain James Cook & James King’s A Voyage towards the South Pole, and Round the World. Performed in His Majesty’s Ships the Resolution and Adventure, In the years 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775. In which is included Captain Furneaux’s Narrative of his Proceedings in the Adventure during the Separation of the Ships. The work was published in London by Strahan and Cadell in 1777. It is the official account of Cook’s second voyage on which he was directed to circumnavigate the globe as far south as possible to search for any southern continent.
“The famous accounts of Captain Cook’s three voyages form the basis for any collection of Pacific books. In three great voyages Cook did more to clarify the geographical knowledge of the southern hemisphere than all his predecessors had done together. He was really the first scientific navigator and his voyages made great contributions to many fields of knowledge.” (Hill)
“Cook earned his place in history by opening up the Pacific to western civilization and by the foundation of British Australia. The world was given for the first time an essentially complete knowledge of the Pacific Ocean and Australia, and Cook proved once and for all that there was no great southern continent, as had always been believed. He also suggested the existence of antarctic land in the southern ice ring, a fact which was not proved until the explorations of the nineteenth century.” (Printing and the Mind of Man p.135)
“The success of Cook’s first voyage led the Admiralty to send him on a second expedition, which was to circumnavigate the globe as far south as possible in search of any southern continents … the men of this expedition became the first to cross the Antarctic Circle. Further visits were made to New Zealand, and on two great sweeps Cook made an astonishing series of discoveries and rediscoveries including Easter Island, the Marquesas, Tahiti and the Society Islands, Niue, the Tonga Islands, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, and a number of smaller islands. Rounding Cape Horn, on the last part of the voyage, Cook discovered and charted South Georgia, after which he called at Cape Town, St. Helena and Ascension, and the Azores … This voyage produced a vast amount of information concerning the Pacific peoples and islands, proved the value of the chronometer as an aid to finding longitude, and improved techniques for preventing scurvy.” (Hill p.123)