Search the Collections

Omai (circa 1753-circa 1780), First Tahitian to visit England

Sitter in 5 portraits
A native of Tahiti, Omai returned with Cook's second expedition to the South Pacific, in 1774. After landing, he was placed in the care of the scientist and socialite Joseph Banks who was interested in observing how a 'native' responded to European society. But Omai was quickly discovered to be a sophisticated man with a complex culture of his own. His personal charm, good humour and sense of etiquette won him the affection of high society.

List Thumbnail

D9162

Omai

by Page
line engraving, published August 1774
NPG D9162

D14242

Omai

by Francesco Bartolozzi, after Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland, Bt
etching and stipple engraving, published 25 October 1774
NPG D14242

D1361

Omai

by Johann Jacobé, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
mezzotint, 1780
On display in Room 14 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG D1361

D9175

Omai

by Samuel William Reynolds, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
mezzotint, published 1834
NPG D9175