John Webber (After) Francesco Bartolozzi (Engraver)

A Young Woman of Otaheite, bringing a Present

A Young Woman of Otaheite, bringing a Present by John Webber, Francesco Bartolozzi

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This engraving records the ritual presentation of gifts of tapa cloth and two breast plates, along with food to Cook and his crew by two girls. The design of the girl’s attire recalls the wide panniers of eighteenth-century fashion, suggesting that the artist may have taken significant artistic license. However, the depiction is in concordance with Cook’s account. He describes seeing the girls dressed prior to their presentation, remarking on the “rather curious” manner in which one end of the cloth “was held up over the girls heads while the remainder was wraped round them under the armpits, then the upper ends were let fall and hung down in foulds to the ground over the other and looked something like a circular hooped petticoat. After ward round the out side of all were, were wraped several pieces of different Coloured cloth, which considerably increased the Size so that the whole was not less than five or six yards in circuit and was as much as the girls could support.”

(See J&S Vol. III, Text p.57, Cat. 3.106-3.108)

Title
A Young Woman of Otaheite, bringing a Present
Artist/creator
Production date
1784
Medium
engraving on paper
Dimensions
347 x 276 mm
Inscription
27. J. Webber del.. [title]. F. Bartolozzi sc..
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2007
Accession no
2007/29/8
Copyright
Copyright Expired
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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