View of Matavai Bay, Tahiti


William Hodges was engaged by Captain James Cook to document his second voyage to the Pacific (1772-75). Cook had been commissioned by the British government to navigate the globe as far south as possible, in order to determine whether there was any southern landmass or ‘Terra Australis’. Over the course of the voyage Hodges visited various Pacific islands, including Tahiti, depicted here. Hodges pictures it in two parts to form one panoramic view, with Point Venus at left. Cook had himself named Point Venus during his first voyage to the South Pacific (1768-71). Hodges produced a number of paintings depicting Matavai Bay, one of which was exhibited at the Royal Academy, London in 1776.

Full title:
View of Matavai Bay, Otaheite [Tahiti]; with Point Venus and One-Tree Hill, and Mount Orofena behind
Watercolour / View
William Hodges
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Add. MS 15743, f. 9

Full catalogue details

Related articles

A global gaze: British artists, landscape spaces, and the wider world in the late 18th century

Article by:
John McAleer
Military and maritime

Dr John McAleer explores how both British, and non-European, professional and amateur artists engaged with the British Empire via the medium of landscape art.

Related collection items