Cleveley's four views, thought to derive from drawings taken on the spot by his brother James Cleveley, carpenter on the Resolution on Cook's third voyage, are discussed at some length in Joppien and Smith's The Art of Captain Cook's Voyages, III (Text), London, 1988, pp. 216-221 (3. The Cleveley Problem): 'The publication of Cook's third voyage encouraged a number of British artists to undertake subjects associated with the voyages, for the Pacific had become a highly fashionable topic and Cook's death provided a new subject for contemporary history painting. Such subjects held the promise of financial reward, particularly if turned into prints.
From May 1787 until July 1788 Thomas Martyn (fl. 1760-1816), a London collector of shells and exotica and also a publisher, undertook the publication of four prints in monochrome aquatint, the work of Francis Jukes, a well-known aquatint engraver. A view of Huahine ... appeared in May 1787, a view of Moorea ... in September 1787, a view of Matavai Bay ... in February 1788, and a view in Hawaii with the death of Cook ... July 1788.
The view of Matavai was incorrectly titled View of Charlotte Sound in New Zealand, and the View of Moorea was said to be in the 'friendly' islands. Obviously Martyn was not particularly well versed in Cook's voyages or Pacific geography.
In the prospectus which he published to promote the prints, Martyn claimed that the views were taken 'on the spot' by Mr James Cleveley of the Resolution and 'afterwards redrawn, and inimitably painted in water-colours by his brother ... John Cleveley, and from which the plates were engraved, in the best manner by Mr Jukes'.
Martyn's claim raises a number of issues, the central one ... being whether the prints were based on original drawings executed in the Pacific or are inventions based upon textual and visual knowledge assembled by John Cleveley, an artist who never visited the Pacific.
... Although it is difficult to point to any specific images in the Cleveley drawings that provide visual information about the Pacific that is not already available from more direct sources, there is an important sense in which the drawings develop out of the voyage art ... It is the excitement of the voyage itself that is being celebrated in the Cleveley drawings; the voyage from the point of view of the men who manned the ships, a kind of British broadsheet art that was eminently suited to begin the preparation of the nation for its great nineteenth-century imperial adventure. But it was not, paradoxically, an outward-looking art, that sought to embrace the strange; no longer an art of information and curiosity. It was not a school for seeing. Topographical art had begun to turn inward upon itself to enjoy, perhaps a little self-indulgently, the personal excitements of the imperial adventure.' (R. Joppien and B. Smith, loc. cit..)