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View of Owhyhee, one of the Sandwich Islands; View of Morea, or Eimo, one of the Society Islands;

Stock Code 98645

London, 1787

Original price £30,000.00 - Original price £30,000.00
Original price £0.00
£30,000.00 - £30,000.00
Current price £30,000.00
Magnificent hand-coloured aquatints from Cook's third voyage. The complete series of four separately issued hand-coloured aquatint views of the Pacific, after watercolours by John Cleveley. 'The kind of prints that anyone who travelled with Cook, whether, officer, midshipman or able seaman, might want to possess to remind him and his family of the days when he travelled with Cook' (Joppien & Smith).

These are undoubtedly amongst the most beautiful prints to have been executed as a result of Cook's voyages. The engraver Francis Jukes was known as 'if not the inventor, certainly the first that brought [aquatint] to a degree of perfection' (The Gentleman's Magazine LXXXII, p. 300). In three of the prints the Resolution and Discovery are seen at anchor in the Society Islands off Tahiti, Huahine, and Moorea, surrounded by local craft, in a veritable paradise. Whilst in the final aquatint the ships stand close to shore in Kealakekua Bay as Cook reaches out to his Marines to prevent further bloodshed as he is surrounded by Hawai'ian warriors, his life about to be taken from him.

John Cleveley's watercolours were thought to be based on sketches by his brother James, who was the ship's carpenter on Cook's third and final voyage, indeed the captions state that the images were 'Drawn on the spot by Jas. Clevely[sic]'. The prospectus also claimed that the views were drawn 'on the spot' by James before being 'redrawn and inimitably painted in water-colours by his brother... John Cleveley, and from which the plates were engraved, in the best manner by Mr. Jukes'. However the art historians Rüdiger Joppien and Bernard Smith have questioned this attribution as there is no other evidence that James Cleveley produced sketches on the voyage. Instead they believe that John Cleveley made use of his connection with Sir Joseph Banks to gain access to the drawings of John Webber (Cook's official artist on the third voyage). John Cleveley had been chosen as part of Banks' team on Cook's second voyage, however following the Admiralty's refusal to adapt the Resolution to his requirements, Banks abandoned his plans to return to the Pacific and took Cleveley as his official draughtsman on a tour of Iceland. It is worth remembering however that James Cleveley was not only the brother of artists (John and his twin Robert), but also the son of one too (another John), so it would not seem surprising if he had not picked up some sketching skills before he set out with Cook.

Four hand-coloured aquatints, 433 x 550 / 432 x 553 / 433 x 560 / 435 x 560mm (all trimmed to image), laid down, 20mm closed tear repaired to edge of View of Morea, two 5mm closed tears repaired to edge of View of Huaheine, slight discolouration to extremities on upper and outer sides (17mm) from previous mount.

Beaglehole III, p. ccxiv; Beddie, 1752-1783; Joppien & Smith III, pp216-221.

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View of Owhyhee, one of the Sandwich Islands; View of Morea, or Eimo, one of the Society Islands;

CLEVELEY, John & James (after); JUKES, F. (engraver).

Stock code: 98645



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