John Webber (1752 - 1793)
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.
Cook anchored in Resolution (Ship) Cove (Bligh Island), Hope Bay (Nootka Sound) and made much needed repairs to the ships. Webber recorded the dwellings and peoples during the stay. It is possible that the houses depicted belong to the village of Yuquot, which Cook visited with Webber on 22 April 1778.
‘After having made a general view of their habitations, I sought for an inside, which might furnish me with sufficient matter to convey a perfect idea of the mode in which these people live. Such was soon found. While I was employed, a man approached me with a large knife in his hand, seemingly displeased, when he observed that my eyes were fixed on two representations of human figures, which were placed at one end of the apartment, carved on planks, of a gigantic proportion, and painted after their custom . However, I took as little notice of him as possible, and proceeded to prevent which, he soon provided himself with a mat, and placed it in such a manner as to hinder my having any longer a sight of them. Being pretty certain that I could have no future opportunity to finish my drawing, and the object being too interesting to be omitted, I considered that a little bribery might probably have some effect. Accordingly, I made an offer of a button from my coat, which, being of metal, I thought they would be pleased with. This, instantly, produced the desired effect. For the mat was removed, and I was left at liberty to proceed as before. Scarcely had I seated myself, and made a beginning, when he returned and renewed his former practice, continuing it til l I had parted with every single button and when he saw that he had completely stripped me, I met with no farther obstruction’.
‘their houses or dwellings are situated close to the shore. They consist in a long range of buildings, some of which are one hundred and fifty feet in length, twenty or thirty broad and seven or eight high from the floor to the roof, which in them all is flat and covered with loose boards. Cook Journals III, 1, 306 & 317.
Beddie 1743-42, p.341, Joppien 3.202A, ill.p.445
From Cook & King, A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean Undertaken by the Command of His Majesty, for Making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere.
Biography: John Webber (1752 – 1793) Official artist on Cook’s 3rd & last voyage. The reasons for the voyage were to return Omai and explore the possibility of a north-west passage along the North American continent. Webber was required to “give a more perfect idea thereof than can be formed by written description.” Webber’s oeuvre from the voyage was the most comprehensive record of sights in the Pacific region ever produced.
John Webber (1752 – 1793)
Official artist on Cook’s 3rd & last voyage. The reasons for the voyage were to return Omai and explore the possibility of a north-west passage along the North American continent. Webber was required to “give a more perfect idea thereof than can be formed by written description.” Webber’s oeuvre from the voyage was the most comprehensive record of sights in the Pacific region ever produced.
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