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William Hodges: The Art of Exploration

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William Hodges: The Art of Exploration


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The painter William Hodges is increasingly seen as a key figure in eighteenth-century British art and in its relationships with the wider world. In an age of colonial expansion Hodges accompanied Captain Cook on his second voyage to the Pacific from 1772 to 1775. His vivid paintings of Tahiti, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands were the first such images widely seen in Europe.

In the early 1780s Hodges travelled extensively in northern India, and once again his paintings of landscapes and monuments were a revelation for audiences at home. In 2004 the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich brought together Hodges' major works from both the Pacific and India for his first-ever full retrospective.

Produced alongside the exhibition, this film reviews Hodges' career and his complex and beautiful art. The contributors include Geoff Quilley, curator of the Greenwich exhibition, author and anthropologist Nicholas Thomas, and the eminent broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, who enthuses about the artist he believes is "the most unjustly neglected British painter of the eighteenth century."

2004, 50 mins.

Sir David Frederick Attenborough is an English broadcaster and natural historian. He is best known for writing and presenting, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, the nine natural history documentary series forming the Life collection that together constitute a comprehensive survey of animal and plant life on Earth. He is a former senior manager at the BBC, having served as controller of BBC Two and director of programming for BBC Television in the 1960s and 1970s. He is the only person to have won BAFTAs for programmes in each of black and white, colour, HD, 3D and 4K.[4][5] Attenborough is widely considered a national treasure in Britain, although he himself does not like the term.[6][7][8] In 2002 he was named among the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide poll for the BBC.[9] He is the younger brother of the director, producer and actor Richard Attenborough,[10] and older brother of the motor executive John Attenborough.

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