Waheiadooa, Chief of Oheitepeha, lying in State. TAHITI, John WEBBER, after.

Waheiadooa, Chief of Oheitepeha, lying in State

London: Boydell, circa 1819.

Hand-coloured aquatint, 280 x 410 mm., Whatman paper with 1819 watermark; very good.

Cook's officers described it to him as a Roman Catholic Chapel

Arresting image of the Tahitian chief Waheiadooa (Vehiatua) lying in state.

Arresting image of the Tahitian chief Waheiadooa (Vehiatua) lying in state.

Cook recorded in August 1777 that his curiosity had taken him to view what his fellow officers had described as a "Roman Catholic Chapel", but which he discovered was what was known as a Tupapau in which the remains of Vehiatua were laid; the body, Cook was told, had been there for some twenty months. The structure, beautifully realised in Webber's view, resembled a small neat house decorated with coloured cloth and mats, including a large piece of scarlet broad cloth which had been given to the Tahitians by Spanish missionaries.

The plate was issued as one of Webber's Views in the South Seas. Following Webber's death in 1793 the publisher Boydell purchased the majority of his stock at auction and continued to colour and sell the views. A new edition was issued around 1808, this time as hand-coloured aquatints as opposed to the earlier edition that used the less economical method of soft ground etchings. As Joppien & Smith note in The Art of Captain Cook's Voyages, the Views continued to be published for at least another decade, with watermarks dating as late as 1820. It seems that after Boydell's death in 1817 the remaining stock was purchased by the firm of Hurst and Robinson, and they carried on as successors; as the present example has an 1819 watermark it evidently dates from this issue (see Douglas Cole, John Webber: Etchings and Aquatints).

Beddie, 1872; Joppien & Smith, 3.95Ab.

Price (AUD): $3,600.00  other currencies Ref: #4504360