John Webber (After) Samuel Middiman (Engraver)

An Island View, in Atooi

An Island View, in Atooi by John Webber, Samuel Middiman

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The first European to discover the Hawaiian group of islands, Cook named them the Sandwich Islands after the Lord of the Admiralty, John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. Depicted is the village at Waimea on Kauai, the first of the Hawaiian Islands Cook was to anchor at. This initial encounter with Hawaii occurred in January 1778, over a year before his death on the ‘Big Island’ at Kealakekua Bay on 14 February 1779.

The scene shows in great detail the active trade for food, water and supplies between Cook’s crew and the islanders. Note in particular the men rolling barrels, the pig strung from a pole and the fowl and fruit on the ground over which they are bartering. Cook tells us that the islanders were very open to trading, “We no sooner landed, that a trade was set on foot for hogs and potatoes, which the people gave us in exchange for nails and pieces of iron formed into something like chisels.” Indeed, the crewman in the immediate centre foreground can be seen offering just such a tool in exchange. Beyond this mercantile activity and the clusters of houses, the dense foliage of the island interior with its dramatic hill forms is laid out.

(See J&S Vol. III, Text p.72-4, Cat. 3.165-3.167A)

An Island View, in Atooi
Production date
engraving on paper
257 x 509 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

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