Stories written by the first European discoverers and drawings made by artists who accompanied them constitute an invaluable testimony of the variety of the canoes used by Polynesians.

The approximate and schematic representations of Wallis (1767), Bougainville (1768), and the 3 voyages of Cook (1768, 1772, 1776) left a number of iconographic sources which are now a reference in the field.

Drawings and engravings made by S. Parkinson, oil paintings made by W. Hodges, watercolors and wash drawings of J. Webber form an invaluable museum of the representation of the canoes which will complete the drawings and watercolors of W. Blight and J. Tobin in 1789 & 1792.


Two double hulled canoe in Tahiti (1777). Watercolor by J. Webber, British Library.


  1. Double hulled canoe. Drawing of S. Parkinson, British Library.
  2. Canoe at Otaheete. Watercolor by J. Webber, National Library of Australia.
  3. “Matavai bay” Tahiti 1773. Oil painting by Hodges. Greenwich National Maritime Museum.
  4. “Points Vénus, Island of Otahytey”. Watercolor by J. Tobin, Mitchell Library.

IN THE BACKGROUND (Bottom panel)

Canoes. Drawing by P. Commerson, Museum of natural History, Paris.