Tahitian women from Banks's voyages, 1769

Tahitian women from Banks's voyages, 1769

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Tahitian women from Banks's voyages with James Cook. 18th-century illustration titled 'Young Woman of Otahiette' (Tahiti) and published by British naturalist Joseph Banks who arrived here in 1769 on the first voyage of James Cook (1768-1771). Banks famously did little to publish his own observations from Cook's voyages. Banks had admiration for the people of Tahiti and had affairs with the women he encountered. His journal of 2 May 1769 recorded one such encounter: 'she then once more displayed her naked beauties and immediately marched up to me. I took her by the hand and led her to the tents accompanied by another woman, her friend, to both of them I made presents but could not prevail upon them to stay more than an hour'. Hand coloured engraving from 'A New Royal Authentic and Complete System of Universal Geography' (Thomas Bankes, Edward Warren Blake, and Alexander Cook, 1790).

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