"[Lot of 4] Danse de Nuit, Executee par les Femmes de Hapaee [and] Danse d'O-Taiti [and] Jeune Femme de O-Tahiti Apportant un Present [and] Une Jeune Femme de O-Tahiti Dansant", Cook/Benard
Subject: Haʻapai, Tahiti
Period: 1785 (circa)
Publication: Troisieme Voyage De Cook, ou Voyage a l'Ocean Pacifique...
Color: Black & White
Captain James Cook (1728-1779) is best known for his three voyages to the Pacific (1768-71; 1772-75; and 1776-79). His discoveries radically changed the western understanding of the world in the late 18th century. He was the first to circumnavigate and chart New Zealand and provided the earliest European accounts of exploration along the eastern coast of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands. On February 14th, 1779, he was killed on Hawaii after attempting to kidnap the chief of the island.
Many contemporary accounts of Cook’s voyages, including charts and engravings, appeared in the late 18th century. The first official account of Cook’s first voyage was published in 1773 by John Hawkesworth in Volumes II and III of An Account of the Voyages Undertaken by the Order of His Present Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere... William Strahan and Thomas Cadell published the first official accounts of the second and third voyages in 1777 and 1784. Accounts of his exploration were subsequently translated into French, German, and Dutch.
This lot of four engravings focus on the female natives encountered by Captain Cook in Ha'apai and Tahiti. The first shows a group of women dancing at night in Ha'apai, part of the Kingdom of Tonga. On the second sheet, a ceremonial dance in Tahiti is depicted, complete with costumed dancers and percussionists in the background. The third features a native Tahitian woman in an unusual and massive barrel-like skirt. The subject of the final view is a woman in sophisticated formal dress and hat swaying before a nature scene.
A. Danse de Nuit, Executee par les Femmes de Hapaee, (15.1 x 8.9").
B. Danse d'O-Taiti, (14.4 x 9.0").
C. Jeune Femme de O-Tahiti Apportant un Present, (6.6 x 8.8").
D. Une Jeune Femme de O-Tahiti Dansant, (6.8 x 8.9").
Dark impressions with marginal foxing or toning. The second sheet was issued folding on watermarked paper and has a single minor spot in the image. The last sheet is watermarked with a faint spot in the image as well.