This hole in the rock was a cause for much comment when the Endeavour visited Tolaga Bay on English explorer James Cook's first voyage to New Zealand in 1769. The sight was drawn in pencil by H. D. Spöring, a botanist on board, and then later in the voyage Sydney Parkinson, artist on the Endeavour, executed this work with pen and wash. He transformed Spöring's accurate documentation of the scene into a picturesque curiosity. Parkinson was not the only person on board to recognise that the view had elements that accorded with artistic convention. Joseph Banks, the leading naturalist on the voyage, wrote in his journal, 'It was certainly the most magnificent surprise I have ever met with; so much is pure nature superior to art in these cases. I have seen such places made by art, where from an inland view you were led through an arch ... to a prospect of the sea.'
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Reference: Add.MS 23920f.40 18993
Pen and wash sketch by Sydney Parkinson
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