William Hodges: The Art of Exploration
The painter William Hodges is increasingly seen as a key figure in eighteenth-century British art and in its relationships with the wider world. In an age of colonial expansion, Hodges accompanied Captain Cook on his second voyage to the Pacific from 1772 to 1775. His vivid paintings of Tahiti, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands were the first such images widely seen in Europe.
In the early 1780s, Hodges travelled extensively in northern India, and once again his paintings of landscapes and monuments were a revelation for audiences at home. In 2004 the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich brought together Hodges’ major works from both the Pacific and India for his first-ever full retrospective.
Produced alongside the exhibition, this film reviews Hodges’ career and his complex and beautiful art. The contributors include Geoff Quilley, curator of the Greenwich exhibition, author and anthropologist Nicholas Thomas, and the eminent broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, who enthuses about the artist he believes is “the most unjustly neglected British painter of the eighteenth century.”