Relation du Voyage à la Recherche de La Pérouse ... [With:] Atlas pour servir à la Relation du Voyage à la Recherche de La Pérouse ..
by LABILLARDIERE, Jacques Julien Houton de (1755-1834)
Paris: Chez H. J. Jansen, 1800. 3 volumes (text: 4to [11 3/4 x 9 inches]; atlas: folio [21 x 13 1/2 inches]). Atlas: Engraved title, folding map, and 43 plates. Half titles in the text. Text and atlas uncut. Text in contemporary blue patterned paper-covered boards, rebacked to style; atlas bound to style in period uniform blue patterned paper covered boards, paper spine labels. A fine uncut set of the first edition of the official published account of the search for La Pérouse, by the naturalist on the d'Entrecasteaux expedition. After three years had passed with no news of the fate of the La Perouse's ships, in 1791 a new expedition was launched with the dual mission of searching for La Perouse but also making inquiries into the natural sciences and commerce of the region. "Rear-Admiral Bruny D'Entrecasteaux received command of the expedition which consisted of two ships of about five hundred tons burden [ La Recherche and L'Espérance ] ... Proceeding via the cape of Good Hope to Tasmania, extensive investigations of its coastline were made. New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, the Admiralty Islands, Tonga, New Britain and other groups were visited, but ... no trace of the missing navigator was found ... The expedition made several important contributions to geographical knowledge, and the investigations of the naturalists into productions of countries visited were of special value" (Ferguson). The work is particularly interesting for its descriptions and illustrations of Tasmania, Tonga, New Caledonia, and New Guinea, and the atlas contains outstanding views of these areas by the official artist Piron. Included is a famous engraving of a black swan, the first large depiction of the exotic Australian bird. Fourteen botanical plates, all by or produced under the direction of Redouté, the most famous of all botanical artists, include two of Eucalypts and two of Banksias. Labillardière, botanist on the voyage, remains an important figure in early Australian science as the author of the first extensive monograph on Australian botany. Labillardière's account is one of very few eighteenth-century accounts of Australian exploration, and the only major French account of the continent in the early settlement period to be published in the same century. The narrative based on the commander d'Entrecasteaux's own papers did not appear until 1808 (i.e. after the restoration of the monarchy). The first edition was published with the text in two forms: in quarto [as here, Ferguson 307] or octavo [Ferguson 308]. The quarto text , uniform in size to the first edition text of La Perouse, is greatly preferred. Ferguson, 307; Hill, 954; Kroepelien, 697; McLaren, Lapérouse in the Pacific, 51; Nissen, ZBI 2331; Sabin 38420.
(Inventory #: 21588)
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