John Webber

Last updated on 16 November 2017

John Webber RA (London 6 October 1751[1] – 29 May 1793 London) was an English artist who accompanied Captain Cook on his third Pacific expedition. He is best known for his images of Australasia, Hawaii and Alaska.

John Webber
JohnWebber.jpg
Born 6 Oct 1751
London, England
Died 29 May 1793
London, England
Nationality English
Education Paris, France
Known for painting
Notable work "Resolution and Discovery in Ship Cove, 1778"; "A Party from H.M.S. Resolution shooting sea horses", Kealakekua Bay and the Village Kowroaa

Biography

Webber was born in London, educated in Bern and studied painting at Paris.[2] His father was Abraham Wäber, a Swiss sculptor who had moved to London, and changed his name to Webber before marrying a Mrs Mary Quant in 1744.

Webber served as official artist on James Cook's third voyage of discovery around the Pacific (1776–80) aboard HMS Resolution. At Adventure Bay in January 1777 he did drawings of "A Man of Van Diemen's Land" and "A Woman of Van Diemen's Land". He also did many drawings of scenes in New Zealand and the South Sea islands.[2] On this voyage, during which Cook lost his life in a fight in Hawaii, Webber became the first European artist to make contact with Hawaii, then called the Sandwich Islands. He made numerous watercolor landscapes of the islands of Kauai and Hawaii, and also portrayed many of the Hawaiian people.

In April 1778, Captain Cook's ships Resolution and Discovery anchored at Ship Cove, now known as Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, Canada to refit. The crew took observations and recorded encounters with the local people. Webber made watercolour landscapes including "Resolution and Discovery in Ship Cove, 1778". His drawings and paintings were engraved for British Admiralty's account of the expedition, which was published in 1784. [3]

Back in England in 1780 Webber exhibited around 50 works at Royal Academy exhibitions between 1784 and 1792, and was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1785 and R.A. in 1791. Most of his work were landscapes. Sometimes figures were included as in "A Party from H.M.S. Resolution shooting sea horses", which was shown at the academy in 1784, and his "The Death of Captain Cook" became well known through an engraving of it. Another version of this picture is in the William Dixson gallery at Sydney.[2]

Collections

The Anchorage Museum of History and Art (Alaska), the Bishop Museum (Honolulu), the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, Massachusetts), the Yale University Art Gallery, the British Museum, the Sir John Soane's Museum (London), The National Maritime Museum (London) the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the Mitchell Library (Australia) are among the public collections holding works by John Webber.

His Young Woman of the Sandwich Islands is in San Antonio Museum of Art.

Australia

Webber's art is held by a number of Australian institutions including the National Portrait Gallery (William Bligh, c.1776, The Death of Captain Cook (engraving), 1784, and Portrait of Captain James Cook RN, 1782);[4] the Australian National Maritime Museum (View of Huaheine, 1784);[5] the Art Gallery of New South Wales (A View in Otaheite Peha, 1785);[6] the National Library of Australia (includes Sea Otter, 1778,[7] A Woman of Pulo Condore, 1780,[8] Portrait of Captain John Gore, 1780,[9] Poedua, Daughter of Orea, King of Ulietea, Society Islands, 1782,[10] Portrait of Captain James King, 1782,[11] A Dance in Otaheite, 1784,[12] A Woman of Van Diemen's Land, 1784,[13] A Chief of the Sandwich Islands, 1787,[14] and The Resolution Beating Through the Ice, 1792,[15]); the Dixson Library (includes An Opossum of Van Diemen's Land, 1777,[16] Red-tailed Tropic Bird, 1777,[17] and The Death of Captain Cook, c.1781-83.[18]); and the National Gallery of Victoria (A Night Dance by Men, in Hapaee, 1784,[19] A Young Woman of the Sandwich Islands, 1784,[20] and A Man of Van Diemen's Land, 1784.[21]).

Works

John Webber%27s oil painting %27A Chief of the Sandwich Islands%27, 1787.jpg

'A Chief of the Sandwich Islands' (oil), 1787, National Library of Australia

John Webber%27s oil painting %27Abbey Mill, Shrewsbury%27.jpg

'Abbey Mill, Shrewsbury' (oil)

John Webber - %27Kealakekua Bay and the village Kowroaa%27, 1779, ink, ink wash and watercolor.jpg

Kealakekua Bay and the Village Kowroaa, 1779 ink wash and watercolor by John Webber, Honolulu Museum of Art

FrauEaoo.jpg

John Webber's Frau Eaoo

Tereoboo, King of Owyhee, bringing presents to Captain Cook by John Webber.jpg

John Webber's Tereoboo, King of Owyhee, bringing presents to Captain Cook 1784

Sea Otter.png

John Webber's Sea Otter

Captain Cook, oil on canvas by John Webber, 1776, Museum of New Zealand Tepapa Tongarewa, Wellington.jpg

John Webber's Captain Cook, oil on canvas, 1776 Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

James Cook by John Webber.jpg

John Webber's James Cook, before 1793

%27Ship Cove, Queen Charlotte Sound, oil on canvas painting by John Webber, c. 1788, Te Papa.jpg

Ship Cove, Queen Charlotte Sound, 1788 Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Man of Nootka Sound.jpg

John Webber's Man of Nootka Sound

00604583-00738902 o 800 WM.jpg

John Webber's 'The Death of Captain Cook'

See also

References

  • Ellis, George R., Honolulu Academy of Arts, Selected Works, Honolulu, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1990, 178,
  • Forbes, David W., Encounters with Paradise: Views of Hawaii and its People, 1778-1941, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1992, 15-85.
  1. ^ William Hauptman, "Webber before Cook: two water-colours after Sterne," The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 136, No. 1903 (Apr 1994), p. 237.
  2. ^ a b c Percival Serle, ed. (1949). "Webber, John". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Angus and Robertson.
  3. ^ "Gray, Charlotte". 'The Museum Called Canada: 25 Rooms of Wonder'. Random House. 2004.
  4. ^ "John Webber 1752 – 1793: William Bligh". portrait.gov.au. National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  5. ^ "View of Huaheine". collections.anmm.gov.au. Australia National Maritime Museum. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  6. ^ "A view in Otaheite Peha". artgallery.nsw.gov.au. Art Gallery of New South Wales. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  7. ^ "1778, English, Art work edition: Sea otter". trove.nla.gov.au. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  8. ^ "1780, English, Art work edition: A woman of Pulo Condore". trove.nla.gov.au. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  9. ^ "1780, English, Art work edition: Portrait of Captain John Gore". trove.nla.gov.au. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  10. ^ "1782, English, Art work edition: A Portrait of Poedua". trove.nla.gov.au. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  11. ^ "1782, English, Art work edition: Portrait of Captain James King, commander of Discovery during Cook's third voyage". trove.nla.gov.au. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  12. ^ "1784, English, Art work edition: A dance in Otaheite". trove.nla.gov.au. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  13. ^ "1784, English, Art work edition: A woman of Van Diemen's Land". trove.nla.gov.au. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  14. ^ "1787, English, Art work edition: A chief of the Sandwich Islands". trove.nla.gov.au. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  15. ^ "1792, English, Art work edition: The Resolution beating through the ice, with the Discovery in the most eminent danger in the distance". trove.nla.gov.au. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  16. ^ "An opossum of Van Diemen's Land, 1777 / drawn by John Webber". archival.sl.nsw.gov.au. State Library of New South Wales. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  17. ^ "Red-tailed tropic bird, 1777 / drawn by John Webber". archival.sl.nsw.gov.au. State Library of New South Wales. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  18. ^ "Death of Cook, ca. 1781-83? / John Webber". archival.sl.nsw.gov.au. State Library of New South Wales. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  19. ^ "A night dance by men, in Hapaee". ngv.vic.gov.au. National Gallery of Victoria. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  20. ^ "A young woman of the Sandwich Islands". ngv.vic.gov.au. National Gallery of Victoria. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  21. ^ "A man of Van Diemen's Land". ngv.vic.gov.au. National Gallery of Victoria. Retrieved 16 November 2017.

External links

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