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Viti Levu, Va Via Ra Coast, Fiji

Constance Frederica Gordon-Cumming (1837-1924)


Signed and dated 'Oct 26th 76'

Watercolour with pencil and bodycolour

15 ¼ x 26 inches

'Chris Beetles Summer Show', 2021, No 41

‘My dear George, – We are settling down into the quietest of lives, and I have no special news to give you; but the day is so lovely that I could not stay in the house, so I wandered up the hill to a huge boulder of grey rock, fringed with the loveliest of ferns, on which I am now sitting, looking across the bluest of seas to the great isle of Viti Levu, whose mountains lie dreamily on the horizon. I must tell you that Viti Levu simply means great Viti, which is the name by which these islands are always called by their own inhabitants, the name of Fiji, which we have adopted, being simply the Tongan mispronunciation of the word. If you look at a map of the group, you will see that this isle of Ovalu, though important by reason of its being the site of Levuka, the white men’s capital, is only a small isle lying off Viti Levu, as does also the tiny isle of Bau, on which is King Thakombau’s own particular capital.’
(At Home in Fiji, pages 53-54)

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