A view in Oheitepeha Bay in the Island of Otaheite. (Tahiti)
$1750 / ≈ €1521
Underneath the title : London. Pubd. April 1, 1809 by Boydell & Compy. No. 90 Cheapside. In lower left corner "J. Webber R.A." and "Vide Cooks last Voyage Vol. 2, Chap 1." to the lower right. In upper right : Plate 5
Webber was more fully trained than any of the artists of the previous voyages, and he and Cook worked closely together to illuminate "the unavoidable imperfections of written accounts, by enabling us to preserve, and to bring home, such drawings of the most memorable scenes of our transactions, as could only be expected by a professed and skilled artist." (J. Cook & J. King, Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, London 1784, Vol I, p.5). Because he was there with Cook in the field, his paintings "constituted a new visual source for the study of history..." (Smith, Bernard, Art as Information. Sydney, 1978).
On his return Webber was appointed by the Admiralty to supervise the production of engravings that were made from his originals to illustrate the official account of 1784, these 12 plates were first published separately by Webber between August 1788 and August 1792, and Boydell first reissued the plates in their present form, with an additional four plates and with descriptive text in 1808, fifteen years after Webber's death. Copies with varying watermark dates are known, but Abbey does not distinguish them as separate editions, nor do other bibliographers: "The title page is dated 1808 in all copies, but the plate imprints are dated April, 1809, and the water mark dates vary widely copy by copy, apparently a feature peculiar to Boydell's color plate books" (Hill).
For a discussion of the various editions of Webber's Views in the South Seas (1786-1820) see R. Joppien and B. Smith, The Art of Captain Cook's Voyages, New Haven and London, III, Text, pp.192-96
Abbey "Travel" 595. Tooley 501. Hill p.611. Mitchell Library "Cook" 1872., Holmes79.
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