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  • Topic: Antarctica, Maluku Islands, James Cook
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  • Published : May 11, 2013
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1. Discuss the visual images of Omai.
2. How do they fit in with other British images of exploration in the Pacific?

* Who painted Omai
* Comparison – of other british images of exploration

Exploration of the pacific was inspired by two main factors: the search for the fastest routes to the spice islands of the Moluccas as well as the notion that somewhere in the South Pacific lay a vast undiscovered southern continent, rich in gold and spices. It was the British and the French who largely dominated the Pacific exploration in the eighteenth century. … By far the most notable of the eighteenth century expeditions was the English man Thomas Cook, who made three voyages to the Pacific in 1768-71, 1772-75 and 1776-80. Due to his efforts by the 1800, the myth of a vast and southern continent had been dispelled.

The question does not specify that we should make this comparison with other portraits of figures like Omai – who represent the exploration of the Pacific.

1. Omai by Sir Joshua Reynolds c.1775 (from the Castle Howard Collection) 2. Omai, Banks and Solander by William Parry, C1776 (from the Collection at Parham Park) c.1776 3. Omai, engraving by J.Caldwall of drawing by W.Hodges, Voyage towards the South Pole, pl.57 4. Omiah, a Native of Otaheite brought to England by Captain Fourneaux, 1774, National Library of Australia 5. Omai, 1774, unsigned pencil drawing, by Natheniel Dance, public archives of Canada 6. mai, aus Otaheithi, Royal University Library, Oslo, Norway 15 images of Omai

It is generally excepted that Omai was a native of Ratiatea, an island of the Society Group to the north west of Tahiti.

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[ 1 ]. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/expa/hd_expa.htm
[ 2 ]. McCormick
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