Venice: Ca. 1794. Very scarce Italian engraved portrait of the first Polynesian Ambassador to England, by C. Pignatari. Copper engraving on laid paper with full impression mark.
Omai traveled with Captain Cook as an interpreter on his 2nd & 3rd voyages, and was the physical embodiment of the "noble savage" in London Society for a time. His image was first brought to European observers by William Hodges, artist on the voyage. The National Library of Australia describes this engraving as being "After plate no. LVII, Volume 1, of: 'A voyage towards the South Pole and round the world', by J. Caldwall after William Hodges." There is no Italian edition of the Cook's Second Voyage, so this engraving is perhaps from a compilation. With the name of the engraver at the lower left: "C. Pignatari inc." Trove 9196464. Rex Nan Kivell Collection, NK11277. OCLC: 221116956. Very good condition. Item #20323