John Webber (After), William Sharp (Engraver)

A Man of Mangea

A Man of Mangea by John Webber, William Sharp

Artwork Detail

Cook and his crew did not land at the island of Mangaia (the southern most of the Cook Islands group) due to the reef that surrounded it, instead overnighting in its waters before continuing on their course. During this time a canoe manned by two oarsmen approached them which John Webber sketched. Cook’s boat later encountered one of paddlers, Mou’rooa [Mourua], who boarded the Resolution with some trepidation and provided information about the island. It is likely that this is the Mangaian depicted by Webber in this print.

William Anderson observed that the ear lobes of the Mangaians were “pierc’d or rather slit, in which one of them stuck a knife”, as can be seen in the engraving. Joppien and Smith comment that the knife was probably one traded earlier in the day. The print also faithfully documents the manner in which Mangaians wore their hair, tied at the crown with string.

(See J&S Vol. III, Text p.21, Cat. 3.31-3.31A)

A Man of Mangea
John Webber, William Sharp
Production date
engraving on paper
308 x 238 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2007
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

To find out which artworks are available for print requests and reproduction please enquire here. This service only applies to select artworks in the Gallery's collection.