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John Cleveley (1745 - 1786)
The most famous of all C18th colour views of the Death of Cook by John Clevely, from original sketches made by his brother James Clevely who was carpenter on board Cook’s ship Resolution. Read more on our website. Cook discovered … Read Full Description
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John Cleveley (1745 - 1786)
The most famous of all C18th colour views of the Death of Cook by John Clevely, from original sketches made by his brother James Clevely who was carpenter on board Cook’s ship Resolution. Read more on our website. Cook discovered the Hawaiian Islands on 19 January 1778, sighting the coast and anchoring in Waimea Bay. Naming the islands, the Sandwich Islands after the Earl of Sandwich Cook after his stay, then departed in search of a north west passage but returned in Kealakekua Bay (Hawaii) on 17 January 1779. His ships sailed north again on 4 February 1779 only to return to anchor in the same bay with a damaged foremast a week later. ‘We were employed the whole of the 11th, and part of the 12th, in getting out of foremast, and sending it, with the carpenters, a shore… I shall now proceed to the account of those other transactions with the natives which led, by degrees, to the fatal catastrophe of the 14th. Upon coming to anchor, we were surprised to find our reception very different from what it had been on our first arrival: no shouts, no bustle, no confusion, but a solitary bay, with only here and there a canoe stealing close along the shore.’ On Saturday 13 February trouble began. The armourers’ tongs were stolen from the Discovery, a fleeing canoe fired on by the ships’ guns, a watering party was threatened by ‘Indians [who] had arm’d themselves with stones’, the tongs were stolen again, and Edgar was attacked while trying to impound a canoe on the beach. At daybreak on the 14th the Discovery’s great cutter was found to have been stolen and Cook ordered a blockade of the bay by the ships’ boats to stop the thieves’ canoes escaping. Cook took a party of marines under Lieutenant Molesworth Phillips to Kowrowa on the North shore, intending to take the Hawaiian King Kalani’opu (‘Terreeoboo’) back to the Resolution where he would be held until the cutter was returned. The pinnace and launch were stationed close to shore to cover Cook and his landing party. In the meantime, King had been sent to the observatories on the beach where the carpenters were working on the damaged foremast, by the village of Kakooa at the other end of the bay, and Rickman’s party was out in the bay blockading the entrance. ‘They walked up to the King’s hut, the Captn intended to get Terreeoboo aboard, as a security for the return of the boat. When Mr Phillips went in & wak’d Terreeoboo & told him the Erono [Cook] was there, he came out, & being askd by C Cook to go on board as usual, he immediately consent’d, & walk’d towards the boat, when he was met by an old woman & some Chiefs, who (possibly suspecting something from seeing out people all Armd, & things carrying on in quite different manner from formerly,) intreat’d him not to go, but finding him at the Captns pressing desire inclin’d to go, they absolutely insisted he should not… a dispute ensued…’ ‘…It was at this point that we first began to suspect that they were not very well dispos’d towards us, and the Marines being huddled together in the midst of an immense Mob compos’d of at least 2 or 3 thousand People, I propos’d to Capt Cook that they might be arrang’d in order along the Rocks by the Water side which he approving of, the Crowd readily made way for them and they were drawn up accordingly: we now clearly saw they were collecting their Spears &c. …Capt Cook now gave up all thoughts of taking Terre’oboo on board with the following observation to me, "We can never think of compelling him to go on board without killing a number of these people", and I believe was just going to give orders to embark, when he was interrupted by a fellow arm’d with a long Iron Spike (which they called a Pah’hoo’ah) and a Stone and threatened to throw his stone upon which Captain Cook discharg’d a load of small shot… the Capt then fir’d a ball which kill’d a Man they now made a general attack and Capt gave orders to the Marines to fire and afterwards called out "Take to the boats". I fired just after the Capt and loaded again whilst the Marines fir’d…’ "A general attack with stones immediately followed, which was answered by a discharge of musquetry from the marines, and the people in the boats. The islanders, contrary to expectations of every one, stood the fire with great firmness and before the marines had time to reload, they broke in upon them with dreadful shouts and yells. What followed was a scene of utmost horror and confusion. …Our unfortunate Commander, the last time he was seen distinctly, was standing at the water’s edge, and calling out to the boats to stop firing, and to pull in. …having turned about, to give his orders to the boats, he was stabbed in the back, and fell with his face into the water. On seeing his fall, the islanders set up a great shout, and his body was immediately dragged on shore, and surrounded by the enemy, who, snatching the dagger out of each other’s hands, showed a savage eagerness to have a share in his destruction. Thus fell our great and excellent Commander!’ The attack saw the death of Cook and four marines (Corporal Thomas, and Privates Hinks, Allen and Fatchett). Second Lieut. Molesworth Phillips and Private Jackson were wounded but escaped in the boats. The boats covering the landing party include the Resolution’s cutter and pinnace, the latter under the Master’s mate Henry Roberts, which made the most concerted attempts to take the men off, the launch under Third Lieutenant Williamson (who, controversially, interpreted Cook’s signal to retreat and pulled his launch further offshore), and Lanyan’s small cutter which came to assist, keeping up a fire on the beach from 30 yards offshore. ‘On our first arrival, the best articles of Trade were Beads or Buttons sewed on clips of cloth to wear about their wrists, and Iron wrought into small Adzes in imitation of their own. latterly Iron Spikes from 18 inches to 2� feet long, worked in the form of their own wooden Daggers, were given. these were called Pahooah: and a few things that we set any value upon could be procured without them.’ ‘far the major part of these Pah’hoo’ahs with which many of the Arees are now arm’d and is their most deadly weapon, were furnish’d them by ourselves–the Arees ever seem’d very desirous of them and we troubled ourselves very little about the use they purpos’d them for.’ John Clevely painted the series from original sketches made by James Clevely his brother, who was carpenter on board Captain Cook’s ship the Resolution’ The prospectus for the prints states, ‘June 5, 1788 (‘This Day are published, (dedicated to His Majesty) Prints, from capital and beautiful views, in water-colours, executed by the late celebrated Mr. John Clevely, From accurate Drawings made by his Brother Mr. James Clevely of the Resolution Ship of War, at the several Places they represent, viz. Published and sold, by Mr. Martyn, at his Academy, No. 16, Great Marlborough-Street (where the original Drawings of the above Views may be seen) and at Alderman Boydell’s, Cheapside. – London, June 5, 1788.) Horden House 1993 JOHN CLEVELEY (1747-1786) John Cleveley was one of twins born to the shipwright and artist John Cleveley at Deptford on Christmas Day, 1747. He and his twin Robert followed their father into the Royal Dockyard at Deptford and John took drawing lessons from his father and from Paul Sandby at Woolwich. John junior exhibited at the Free Society of Artists from 1767 and at the Royal Academy from 1770. His association with Cook’s voyages began when he was selected by Joseph Banks as one of the natural history artists to accompany him on Cook’s second voyage on the Resolution in 1772. Brother James (c.1850-1821), described by Martyn as ‘that well-known ingenious and able artist and officer…now living at Greenwich’. He joined Cook’s Resolution as a carpenter on 10 February 1776.
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