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William Hodges RA
, 1808 (dated 1810)

by George Dance and William Daniell (engraver)

etching (sheet: 44.0 cm x 31.5 cm, plate-mark: 27.0 cm x 20.1 cm, image: 15.2 cm x 11.8 cm)

William Hodges (1744–1797) travelled to the Pacific as the artist accompanying Cook’s second voyage. A London-born blacksmith’s son, Hodges trained first at William Shipley’s drawing school, and then as an apprentice to the landscape painter and Royal Academician, Richard Wilson. Hodges brought to the Pacific both excellent drawing skills and a neoclassical landscape-painter’s sensibility. He drew portraits of some of the key Pacific Islanders of the late eighteenth century. Hodges also probably introduced Cook to the language of eighteenth-century aesthetics, which the captain found need to use when confronting the sublime vistas of the southern hemisphere. Upon first seeing an Antarctic iceberg, for example, Cook opined uncharacteristically that ‘the whole exhibits a view which can only be described by the pencle of an able painter and at once fills the mind with admiration and horror.’ Hodges became a Royal Academician in 1787. His friend and fellow RA, the architect George Dance, sketched his portrait some time during Hodges’s final years.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2010
Accession number: 2010.57