Search the Collection
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.