Item #5000757 Original drawing with watercolour highlights of HMS Resolution. William HODGES.
Original drawing with watercolour highlights of HMS Resolution.
Original drawing with watercolour highlights of HMS Resolution.

Original drawing with watercolour highlights of HMS Resolution.
Original drawing with watercolour highlights of HMS Resolution.

HMS Resolution, at sea: c. 1773.

Drawing on paper with watercolour highlights, border of concentric circles (45 mm diameter); with associated note of provenance, ink on paper (95 x 75 mm).

A family memento of HMS Resolution from the greatest Antarctic voyage

A lovingly preserved memento from Cook's second voyage to the Pacific; a delicately rendered drawing of HMS Resolution under sail sketched from astern, the White Ensign clearly visible, also a streamer flying from the main mast and a jack at the bow. It is attributed to William Hodges, who accompanied Cook as voyage artist. The shape and intricate detail in this remarkable drawing suggest it may have been intended as a cameo keepsake.

A lovingly preserved memento from Cook's second voyage to the Pacific; a delicately rendered drawing of HMS Resolution under sail sketched from astern, the White Ensign clearly visible, also a streamer flying from the main mast and a jack at the bow. It is attributed to William Hodges, who accompanied Cook as voyage artist. The shape and intricate detail in this remarkable drawing suggest it may have been intended as a cameo keepsake.

The watercolour's first owner, Richard Grindall, joined the Resolution as an able seaman, despite having passed his lieutenant's examination. "He messed with the midshipmen during the voyage, and [fellow midshipman] John Elliott described him as 'a Steady Clever young man'. Immediately, at the end of the voyage and to the great surprise of the rest of the crew, Grindall accompanied Cook from Portsmouth to London. According to Elliott, 'The same day Captn Cook with Messrs Forster, Wales, Hodges, and my Messmate Grindal set out for London. The latter we now found (and not till now) had Married a very handsome young Lady, and left her, within an hour after, on our leaving England'" (Captain Cook Society website). That "very handsome young Lady" was Katherine Festing (1759-1831), who came from a musical background, both of her grandfathers being celebrated violinists and composers. It is presumably her note that accompanies the drawing: "The Resolution, Capt. Cook. My dr. [dear] Husband went round the World in the 2nd Voyage Capt. Cooke [sic] went". The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich holds an intimate family portrait of Grindall in later career, pictured with Katherine and their sons.

Cook's great second voyage saw the first crossing of the Antarctic circle, 'arguably the greatest, most perfect, of all seaborne voyages of exploration. In his three years away he disposed of the theory of a great southern continent, reached closer to the South Pole than any other man, and touched on a multitude of lands - New Zealand and Tahiti again, and for the first time Easter Island, the Marquesas, the New Hebrides and New Caledonia' (Marshall & Williams, p. 276).

William Hodges (1744-1797) was almost 28 when he joined the Resolution, and like Sydney Parkinson, artist on Cook's Endeavour voyage, was from comparatively humble stock. The son of a blacksmith, Hodges' parents had early encouraged his artistic talent, placing him at age 14 in William Shipley's influential drawing school, joining landscape painter Richard Wilson as an apprentice in 1758. A short period of study under Wilton and Cipriani at the Duke of Richmond's Gallery "was probably responsible for developing in Hodges "that respect for classical composition which never entirely deserted him…" (Joppien & Smith). However, it was during the Cook voyage that "he developed an individual response to the problems of representing light and meteorological conditions which brought criticism from a society not yet ready for a departure from recognized traditions" (ODNB). Hodges, along with Parkinson and Webber became the most important artists to visit the Pacific in the eighteenth century.

Provenance: Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Grindall (1750-1820, able seaman on the second voyage favoured by Cook); thence by direct descent through his family.

Condition Report: Lightly soiled, a few tiny pin holes (central hole where a compass was used to create the framing circles), peripheral short closed tears, a few minor ink splashes but withal the image well defined and clear.

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Condition Report