John Webber (1751-93), England,Ship Cove, Queen Charlotte Sound, about 1788, oil on canvas. Purchased 1991 from the Bishop Suter Art Gallery, Nelson, with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds; gift of Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell to the Bishop Suter Art Gallery, 1931
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A new tradition
This painting shows some of the earliest contact between Māori and Pākehā, as recorded by John Webber, the artist on James Cook’s third and final voyage to New Zealand. Works produced by artists on Dutch, British, and French exploratory voyages are often considered to mark the beginnings of a Pākehā art tradition in this country.
John Webber made a sketch of the scene in February 1777, during a stopover in Queen Charlotte Sound. However, he made the painting nearly ten years later back in England.
The painting, or one very like it, was exhibited by Webber at the Royal Academy in London.