C1784

A Man of the Sandwich Islands, with his Helmet.

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. Famous portrait of … Read Full Description

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Details

Full Title:

A Man of the Sandwich Islands, with his Helmet.

Date:

C1784

Condition:

In good condition.

Technique:

Copper engraving.

Image Size: 

230mm 
x 290mm
AUTHENTICITY
A Man of the Sandwich Islands, with his Helmet. - Antique Print from 1784

Genuine antique
dated:

1784

Description:

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.

Famous portrait of the Hawaiian chief, Kanaina, who was killed in the fighting that followed the death of Cook. This image is one of the most famous and frequently reproduced of all the Third Voyage images. 

The crested feather helmet, or mahiole, and the feather cape, or ‘ahu ‘ula, were among the finest and most distinctive examples of Hawaiian craftsmanship. The feathers were collected by a specialist called po’e hahai manu, and were a significant component of the tithe paid to the administrative chief during the annual makahiki season. Most of these were then passed on to the ruling chief of the district, where they were collected until an adequate number were available for creating a helmet or cloak. Much has been made of the apparent similarity between the feather headdress and the design of the Spanish helmet of an earlier period. There has been speculation that this image proves the existence of an earlier Spanish visitation to Hawaii though there is no firm evidence that such an encounter ever occurred.

Beddie 1743-64, p.342, Joppien 3.313A, ill.p.543

From Cook & King, A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean Undertaken by the Command of His Majesty, for Making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere….

John Webber (1752 - 1793)

John Webber was an 18th century artist, best known for his work as the official artist on Captain James Cook's third and final voyage to the Pacific in 1776-1780. He was born in London, England in 1751 and was trained as an artist. Webber accompanied Cook on his voyage as the official artist, tasked with creating drawings and paintings of the places and people they encountered. He produced many illustrations and sketches that were used to make engravings for inclusion in the official account of the voyage, published after Cook's death. Webber was required to "give a more perfect idea thereof than can be formed by written description." Webber's illustrations and engravings of the Pacific islands and their inhabitants are considered some of the most accurate and detailed depictions of the region from that time. They provide an important record of the places and people encountered by Cook and his crew, and are valuable for understanding the culture and daily life of the people of the Pacific during the 18th century. He died in London in 1793, after having returned from the voyage, but his work continues to be recognised as an important historical record of the voyage and of the art of his time. Webber's oeuvre from the voyage was the most comprehensive record of sights in the Pacific region ever produced.

View other items by John Webber

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