William Hodges RA
(28 October 1744 – 6 March 1797)
was an English painter. He was a member of James Cook's second voyage to the Pacific Ocean, and is best known for the sketches and paintings of locations he visited on that voyage, including Table Bay, Tahiti, Easter Island, and the Antarctic.
Hodges was born on 28 October 1744 in London. He studied under William Shipley, and afterwards in the studio of Richard Wilson, where he met Thomas Jones.
During his early career, he made a living by painting theatrical scenery.
Between 1772 and 1775 Hodges accompanied James Cook to the Pacific as the expedition's artist. Many of his sketches and wash paintings were adapted as engravings in the original published edition of Cook's journals from the voyage.
Most of the large-scale landscape oil paintings from his Pacific travels for which Hodges is best known were finished after his return to London; he received a salary from the Admiralty for the purposes of completing them. These paintings depicted a stronger light and shadow than had been usual in European landscape tradition. Contemporary art critics complained that his use of light and colour contrasts gave his paintings a rough and unfinished appearance.