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Tahiti Revisited; Vaitepiha Bay discovered on the second voyage of Captain Cook in 1772-75. The background of picture is dominated by towering mountain peaks; river in foreground, broken by a stone causeway, with a naked female bather in the water floating on her back and on the right, another naked female bather, seated with her back to the spectator, drying herself with a large white towel and displaying her tattooed bottom, the river winds through a wooded area of land where there is a native hut, and a carving of a ‘tii’ or ancestral image on the far right foreground which is shown seated in a high-backed chair or throne (this is based on the figures which are found on the prows of certain Tahitian boats); on the bank between the two figures are three tall coconut palms. The bathers are painted as white-skinned to avoid upsetting the sensibilities of the time.
The Fairhaven Collection / National Trust Photographic Library/John Hammond / Bridgeman Images