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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Omai An Engraving by James Caldwell , after William Hodges , For Captain James Cook ."
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
1 st Proof , uncut margins , fine condition .
Size : 33 cm high , 28 cm wide – 13 ins high , 11 ins wide
Solander's description of Omai upon his arrival in England fits both his portrait by Hodges and the particular interests of Hunter : 'He is very brown , almost a(s) brown as a mulatto . Not at all handsome , but well made . His nose is a little broadish and I believe we have to thank his wide nostrils for the visit he has paid us - for he says , that the people of his own country laughed at him upon the account of his flatish nose and dark hue ….' .
Omai was adopted by Sir Joseph Banks and the Earl of Sandwich and introduced to fashionable London society , including George III and the Royal family . He caused much amusement and was greatly admired by the ladies of the court who vied with each other to sit next to him at table . Dinner parties were held in his honour and he received numerous offers from aristocratic ladies to teach him to read and write .
He was painted by several artists , most famously by Sir Joshua Reynolds whose portrait of Omai hung until recently in Castle Howard , until it was sold , and then bought for the nation in 2003 at a cost of £ 9 million . It now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery .