WEBBER, John; THORNTON, John (engraver).

View of a Fiatooka or Burying Place in Tongataboo.


View of a Fiatooka or Burying Place in Tongataboo.

London, Alex. Hogg at the Kings Arms, No 16 Paternoster Row, [1784].


A particularly fine copy of Webber’s view of one of the carefully tended ceremonial burial grounds on the island of Tongatapu, the main island of Tonga. The view is particularly picturesque, clearly designed to appeal to the European eye, with finely detailed trees surrounding an open space with traditional buildings on the edge, and a stream flowing through the centre.

Cook returned to Tongatapu on his Third Voyage anchoring there from 10th June to 10th July 1777. He recorded visiting a fa’itoka (burying ground) in his journal: ‘The Places set apart for burying the dead are raised with Gravel about a foot or two above the level of the Ground, on which stand two or three Houses which are constantly shut up but contain nothing in them; these Ceremonies called in their Language Dano are kept very neat & clean & the Indians are generally despleased at our approaching them’ (Cook Journals III, 2, 1037).

The image originally appeared in the official account of Cook’s Third Voyage, but this version of the print was issued in George William Anderson’s A New Authentic and Complete Collection of Voyages around the World published by Hogg in 1784.


Engraving, 252 x 390mm (cut to plate mark), mounted.


cf. Beddie, 17 & 1743 [21].


Stock ID: 98804