William Hodges, 1744–1797: The Art of Exploration
William Hodges is well known as the artist who accompanied Cook’s second voyage to the South Pacific as official landscape painter. This book—a major reappraisal of his career and reputation—presents him as one of the most intriguing and controversial painters of his age. Foremost scholars consider Hodges’s work in terms of the rise of ethnology, the investigation of Indian history, the encounter with peoples “without history,” and the development of empirical science and rationalism. Previous accounts of Hodges have often treated him secondarily to Cook and the history of geographical exploration. This volume, a finalist for the 2006 Historians of British Art Book Prize, redresses this situation in the light of recent developments in the history of eighteenth-century British art, which seek to understand art and aesthetics within a broader framework of social and imperial history.