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James Basire I (1730-1802) possibly with William Blake (1757-1827) after William Hodges (1744-1797)
Man of the Island of Tanna


A young William Blake was apprenticed to Basire at the time of the Cook publication

Artist: James Basire I (1730-1802) possibly with William Blake (1757-1827) after William Hodges (1744-1797)
Title: Man of the Island of Tanna
Date: 1777
School: British, XVIIIth-century
Medium: engraving and etching
Dimensions: 290 x 222 (plate and sheet)
Watermark: none
Inscriptions/marks: in the plate lower left border <<Drawn from Nature by W. Hodges.>>, in the plate lower centre border <<MAN OF THE ISLAND OF TANNA./ Publish’d Feb. 1st 1777 by Wm Strahan in New Street Shoe Lane, & Thos Cadell in the Strand, London.>>, in the plate lower right border <<Engrav’d by J Basire/No  XXVI>>
Condition: Good condition, some spots and matt burn
Description: Portrait of a man with beard, looking to left. Engraving from a red chalk and pencil drawing by William Hodges now in Canberra, National Library of Australia R752. Cook visited Tanna, now part of Vanuatu in August 1774. Published in James Cook, A Voyage towards the South Pole and Round the World, performed by His Majesty’s Ships the RESOLUTION and ADVENTURE, in the years 1772, 1773, 1774 and 1775, 2 vols., London, W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1777, II, plate XXVI, fp. 78. William Blake was a young apprentice in James Basire’s workshop at the time and may have had a hand in the engraving. For this argument see reference below.
Reference: Rüdiger Joppien and Bernard Smith, The Art of Captain Cook’s Voyages, Volume Two, The Voyage of the Resolution & Adventure 1772-1775, Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 1985, pp. 110ff and for the drawing see the same volume 2.131
Provenance: Smiths Bookshop, Christchurch