[HOARE, Sophia, photographer]; HODGES, William, 1744-1797 (artist); WEBBER, John, 1752-1793 (artist); BERNARD, Robert, 1734-1777 (engraver)
[COOK] Four nineteenth-century photographs of eighteenth-century engravings of Tahitian subjects.
Papeete, Tahiti : Mrs. Sophia Hoare, [between 1880 and 1889]. Four albumen print photographs of copperplate engravings, 130 x 203 mm (1. and 2.) / 167 x 130 mm (3.) / 110 x 210 mm (4.); unmounted; versos all with the wet stamp of ‘Mrs. S. Hoare, Photographer, Papeete, Tahiti’; (1.) and (2.) with mild damage at bottom left corners, otherwise the prints are in good condition with an expected amount of very light creasing.
The significance of this group of photographs of plates engraved by Robert Bernard taken from early French editions of Cook’s voyages lies not in the images themselves, for they are well known: the drawings were made by William Hodges and John Webber, artists on Cook’s second and third voyages, respectively, in 1773 and 1777. Their interest is more one of association, since – like the original drawings – they were also produced in Tahiti, scarcely one hundred years after Cook’s three visits to the Society Islands. The photographs were taken by Papeete photographer Mrs. Sophia Hoare, who sold examples of these images in loose albumen print format as souvenirs to European tourists throughout the 1880s. The images portray aspects of traditional Tahitian society which were dying out by this time, and they clearly held appeal for European travellers who were fascinated by the exotic, as well as by the story of the celebrated navigator, Cook.
- Title: Un Toupapow, avec un Cadavre dessus avec le principal personnage du deuil en habit de Cérémonie. After William Hodges, 1773 (Manao tupapau Ceremony [= Spirit of the Dead Watching] with a corpse top with the main character of the mourning ceremony dress).
- Title: Danse de nuit executée par les hommes de Hapaee. After John Webber, 1777 (A night dance by men in Hapaee).
- Title: Sacrifice humain qui eut lieu dans un des morais d’O-Taiti. After John Webber, 1777. (A Human Sacrifice in a Morai, in Otaheite).
- Title: [Omai]. After William Hodges, 1773. Famous portrait of Mai of Ra‘iatea (c.1753–c.1780), who travelled to England with Cook and returned to Huahine in August, 1777 on Cook’s third voyage.