John Webber (1752 - 1793)
Rare engraving from the French edition of Cook’s voyages.
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 wi th 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 futur e 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’.
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.
This engraving is from, Cook & King, Troisieme voyage de Cook, ou journal d’une expédition faite dans la Mer Pacifique du Sud & du Nord, en 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779 & 1780. Traduit de l’anglois.Paris, Pissot & Laporte, 1782.
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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