Online Feature
Fijan Hut, page 27r from the sketchbook Tahiti, Fiji & Ceylon, summer 1891. Graphite. Yale University Art Gallery, Everett V. Meeks, B.A. 1901, Fund

John La Farge’s South Seas Sketchbooks: 1890–1891

In August of 1890, American artist John La Farge (1835–1910) and historian Henry Adams (1838–1918) embarked on a journey to the South Pacific—Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, Rarotonga, Fiji, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka)—that would keep them away from home for more than a year. During this trip, La Farge strove to record, in sketches and notes, the landscapes and genre scenes that he encountered, filling a group of pocket sketchbooks and creating what could be described as a series of “visual diaries.” The sketchbooks featured on this site, from the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery, are 11 of a total of just 12 known books from the La Farge–Adams trip to the South Seas in 1890–91. Created in conjunction with the exhibition John La Farge's Second Paradise: Voyages in the South Seas, 1890–1891, this site allows visitors to peruse every page of each sketchbook.