John Webber (After), William Sharp (Engraver)

A Night Dance by Women, in Hapaee

A Night Dance by Women, in Hapaee by John Webber, William Sharp

Artwork Detail

The formal structure of the composition, the way in which the performers are brightly lit and the audience silhouetted, is a pictorial device used in other European works of the 18th century. It adds drama to the atmosphere of the event and emphasises the rhythmic movement of the dance. Cook reflected in his diary of the dances he observed in Tonga: "These dances vary perhaps much more than we were able to discover, however there appeared a sort of sameness throughout the whole, and so would, I apprehend the most of our Country dances to people as inacquainted with them as we were with theirs. The drawings which Mr. Webber has made of these performances will give a very good idea of the order in which they range themselves but neither pen nor pencil can describe the numerous actions and motions they observe, which as I have before observed are easy and graceful and many of them extremely so."

A Night Dance by Women, in Hapaee
John Webber, William Sharp
Production date
406 x 560 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2006
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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