Story: Painting

'A perforated rock in New Zealand'

'A perforated rock in New Zealand'

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.'

Using this item

British Library
Reference: Add.MS 23920f.40 18993
Pen and wash sketch by Sydney Parkinson

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'Painting - Introduction', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 1 December 2021)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 22 Oct 2014