Rare engraving from the official British Admiralty sanctioned edition of the accounts of Cook’s third and final voyage. All other later copies made of this image by other publishers were unauthorised, usually smaller and inferior in quality.
John Webber's first encounter with the people of the Pacific came in January 1777 when Cook arrived at Adventure Bay, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). He was astonished at their unashamed nakedness.
In his first painted version of this portrait Webber included the man's full torso, covered with ceremonial scars. Cook described the appearance of the Tasmanian's as 'far from disagreeable'. 'The keloid scars so typical of the Australian aboriginal adult male; they came from cuts incised with a flint of other sharp stone knife, which were often rubbed with ashes of clay to enlarge the effect. They denoted inititation into manhood, but other functions were totemistic and aesthetic.' Cook, Journals III, I, 52.
Beddie 1743-6, p.339, Joppien 3.10A, ill.p.272
From Cook & King, A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean Undertaken by the Command of His Majesty, for Making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere....