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Ref:392.(HAWAII) Attributed to JOHANN GEORGE ADAM FORSTER, watercolour dated 1779 (but 1780-5), Gericht van de Karakakooa Baai aan het Eiland Owhijhee.

Represents the visit by Capt.James Cook to the Bay of Karakakooa on the main island of Hawaii. This scene is also famous for showing the first known "surfer".

A very good quality painting on paper of the period, with extensive notes in Dutch on the reverse, relating to the nautical position, date and information about the voyage and Hawaii. Signed lower right reverse by J.Forster.

Generally in very good condition, some slight pink staining upper left and mild discoloration of the ink from reverse but hardly affecting. A most RARE item, with almost no watercolours available from this period, especially for Pacific exploration. (Art of Cook Joppien/Smith III, 126,524)

Watercolour 10 1/2"x16 1/2" Sold

(of the watercolour above)


Capt.James Cook asked the naturalist John Reinhold Forster to accompany him on the second voyage and received permission to bring his son Johann George Forster along as an assistant. After the voyage, Cook decided to write his own account of the expedition, instead of asking Reinhold Forster. Therefore, deprived of the possible royalties and unable by contract to the Admiralty to issue a book of his own, Forster had his son Johann write an account of the voyage. This was accomplished in six weeks, and then published six weeks before the official Cook volumes.

Johann George Forster was born in 1754 near Danzig, at 12 years of age he was enrolled as a pupil at Warrington Academy, England, where his father was a teacher. By 1768, George haD started to draw and by 1772 was illustrating his father's series of papers on natural history. On Cook's second voyage, George completed two volumes of drawings of plants (361 items) and two further of zoological specimens (268 items). These were sold to Joseph Bankes in 1776, but are now located in the British Museum. Other drawings by George were taken by him to Kasel and Halle, Germany. A view of the Resolution and Adventure among the ice of Antarctica is the only finished view of its kind that he made, on the voyage. It seems most likely that William Hodges, the official artist of the second voyage, collaborated to help Forster with his paintings. In later life George became a leading authority on the Pacific and his writings had a profound influence on the leading scientists of his generation.

Forster continued to take an interest in the Cook expeditions and in 1780 wrote an article in Gottingisches Magazin with information given to him by Heinrich Zimmerman and Barthold Lohman, who were both members of the Cook crew on the third voyage. Furthermore, Forster was a close friend of Anders Sparrman, the leading Swedish explorer and scientist, as they had both travelled on the Cook second voyage together. Sparrman produced a book in 1780, about the third voyage, as a translation based upon the information supplied by Forster.

In 1787-8, Forster published a translation of Cook's third voyage, just prior to this he had also published an essay on the value of voyages of exploration and the merits of discoverers, especially James Cook. Many of Forster's articles had appeared in periodicals and pamphlets previously, but many had also been kept hidden and never published.

With Forsters vivid and active interest in Cook's third voyage, the watercolour opposite was obviously based upon the painting by John Webber, the official artist of that voyage.

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