A View in Matavai Bay, Otaheite.

A View in Matavai Bay, Otaheite.

London: J. Webber, No. 312 Oxford Street, 1787.

Aquatint in sepia tones on laid paper, 290 x 430 mm, full margins, mounted.

First aquatint issue of Webber's Tahitian view

A very rare and separately issued form of the View in Matavai, Otaheite prepared by the artists John Webber and Marie Catherine Prestel in 1787.

A very rare and separately issued form of the View in Matavai, Otaheite prepared by the artists John Webber and Marie Catherine Prestel in 1787.

Issued in aquatint, a newly arrived technique, this is one of the most romantic and tropical scenes encountered during Cook's voyage. The image had earlier been done as a line etching in November 1786, but Webber decided instead to experiment with the aquatint method in collaboration with Marie Catherine Prestel, 'an aquatint artist of some note, who had recently come to London from Frankfurt' (Joppien & Smith, p. 192). This is the first of two issues; a second appeared in 1788.

Webber found that this new method 'allowed greater freedom and a wider range of evocative tones of light and shade' (Joppien & Smith). He ultimately prepared four aquatints with Prestel, this being one of them: all are rare. It is a famous image; as Joppien and Smith note, 'There can be no doubt that the drawing represents one of the most romantic and tropical scenes encountered during the voyage'.

Beddie, 1869 (examples of this issue in an album in the Dixson Library); Hill, 1836-7 (Webber's published views); Joppien & Smith, 3.120Ac.

Price (AUD): $6,850.00  other currencies     Ref: #4208063

Condition Report