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William Hodges (1744 – 1797) trained at William Shipley’s Academy in London and then under the leading British landscape painter, Richard Wilson. Initially a minor topographical artist, Hodges’s big break came when he was appointed official artist on Captain Cook’s second voyage to the Pacific. This journey was followed by an extended stay in India. The work derived from these trips enabled Hodges to achieve great critical and financial success; but his attempts to branch out in the 1790s – coupled with some injudicious investments – led to a rapid decline in his fortunes.
In recent years, William Hodges’s reputation has been reappraised and he is now recognised as a hugely significant figure in early colonial art. In this lecture, we will explore how he recorded the places he visited, and how his work helped to shape how they were regarded back in Britain.
Dr Prasannajit de Silva is an art historian, university lecturer and accredited Arts Society speaker.
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