A Morai, in Atooi


Australian National Maritime Museum

Australian National Maritime Museum

This engraving shows a Morai or Burying Place on Atooi (Kauai) Island in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) during James Cook's third Pacific voyage. The original was drawn by John Webber in January 1778. James Cook's journals of the voyage describe the Morai in detail.

The British Admiralty appointed John Webber as the artist on Captain James Cook's third expedition (1776-1780). The engraving is part of a series of 78 plates, based on some of Webber's many drawings from the voyage, by various engravers. They were first printed as part of an Atlas volume accompanying the journals of the expedition commanders, titled A voyage to the Pacific Ocean, undertaken, by the command of His Majesty, for making discoveries in the northern hemisphere, etc.

The engravings were made, with Webber's assistance, from his original sketches and watercolours, and subjects include Indigenous people, artifacts and views from the Pacific Islands, North America, Alaska and Siberia.

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  • Title: A Morai, in Atooi
  • Creator: Lerpiniere
  • Date: 1784
  • Location: London
  • Type: Print
  • Significance: The publication of Webber's images as engravings reflects the late eighteenth century widespread popular interest in James Cook, his voyages of exploration and the peoples and landscapes of the Pacific Islands. It was during this voyage that Cook was killed at Hawaii in 1779. Webber's numerous paintings and drawings are the most comprehensive visual record of any of Cook's voyages. Many of his unfinished paintings were chosen for engraving. Some original images have been lost and only the engravings survive. The subject material is an important historical record of eighteenth century Pacific explorers, Indigenous people, artifacts and landscapes.
  • See institution's online collections: http://www.anmm.gov.au/collections
  • Medium: Ink on paper
  • Dimensions: 455 x 585 mm
  • Credit line: ANMM Collection


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