William Hodges, 'Matavai Bay Otaheite', 1774
William Hodges, the 'draughtsman' or official artist on the Second Voyage, had a crucial role - to record the places and peoples seen for later publication. He was the first professional European artist to visit Tahiti and made several major paintings of Matavai Bay.
This previously unknown painting, uniquely, shows Matavai Bay looking westwards towards the island of Moorea, faintly depicted on the horizon.
It completes our knowledge of that part of the island at the time, and has all the hallmarks of Hodges careful descriptive work which later fed into his atmospheric oil paintings.
Acquired 2008 with the assistance of the Art Fund, Normanby Charitable Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, Sir George Martin Trust, Pilgrim Trust and individual donors.