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A Man of Christmas Sound, Tierra del Fuego, and A Woman of Christmas Sound, Tierra del Fuego

Artist/Maker: Artist Unknown (Artist Unknown)

Artist/Maker: William Hodges (England, 1744-1797)

Date: 1784-1786
Medium: engraving
Sheet: 9 5/8 x 14 3/8 in. (24.4 x 36.5 cm)
Classification: Visual Works
Credit Line: Gift of Drs. Ann and Robert Walzer
Object number: 2004.50.9.13
DescriptionIn December 1774, Cook again visited Tierra del Fuego, this time as he was returning to England at the close of his second voyage. Parkinson and Buchan had made numerous sketches of the Fuegians they encountered during the first voyage, but the man in this print bears a closer resemblance to an engraving by James Basire (English, 1730-1802) after a lost drawing by William Hodges (English, 1744-1797) made during this second visit. Parkinson described the Fuegians in his journal: “Their hair, which is black and streight, hangs over their foreheads and ears, which most of them had smeared with brown and red paint; but, like the rest of the original inhabitants of America, they have no beard … They wear a bunch of yarn made of guanicas wool upon their heads, which, as well as their hair, hangs down over their foreheads. They also wear the skins of guanicas and of seals, wrapped round their shoulders, sometimes leaving the right arm uncovered.”

In Basire’s engraving, the man from Christmas Sound stares directly at the viewer with piercing eyes and a cape partially covering his naked chest, much as Parkinson described. Hogg’s version, however, has none of the intensity of the original, sharing only a shaggy head of hair and generally similar facial features. He has replaced the cape with a coat that fully covers the man and added facial hair. Looking away from the viewer, he gestures with his left hand in a motion that would be familiar to European audiences. The woman from Christmas Sound is even less distinct, closely resembling the man except for a slightly smaller frame and longer hair. Only the caption distinguishes the portrait as that of a woman.
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