Our featured item is a slim work of great beauty, John Richardson’s Icones Piscium: the first separately published work on Australian fishes, the plates after drawings by James Barker Emery, the first Lieutenant on the Beagle voyage during her survey of the Australian coast 1837-1841.
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A very finely painted depiction of a traditional Greenlandic Inuit hunter after harp seals in his distinctive hunting kayak. The unsigned watercolour is of considerable quality and style, and depicts an Inuit pursuit with a level of detail whose accuracy modern historical sources now confirm.
John Hayter's striking portrait of the three Yahgans ("Fuegians") who accompanied Charles Darwin on the Beagle voyage is featured above. (The full account of the Beagle voyage may also be viewed here) Darwin's experience with the Yahgans both on the voyage and in their homeland can be singled out as formative in his development of ideas for both the Origin and for The Descent of Man.
Jacques Etienne Arago (1790-1855) sailed as artist on Louis de Freycinet’s 1817 voyage around the world on the Uranie, and on his return devoted the rest of his life to writing about the voyage, and writing for the theatre. His account of the voyage here featured is very different to the huge official narrative, giving a highly readable and very personal, whimsical and humorous description of events and people. As he noted in the English version (Narrative of a Voyage, 1823) he set out to avoid the conventional forms of the voyage narrative and to ignore the ‘eternal repetition of winds, currents, longitude and lattitude’. By the time this version of his book reached the public, its remarkable author and artist had lost his sight: hence the new title used for the work of Souvenirs d’un aveugle. The lovely handcolouring in this edition means that Arago’s wonderful depictions of the Pacific are given full rein. Here they are present in the rare hand-coloured form. Seldom seen on the market, this should be ranked as one of the rarest and most prized Pacific or Australian colour-plate books.
A sumptuous publication admired as much for its technical virtuosity as its beauty. It is a piece of photo-reportage unmatched by any other work of this time and place. The photographs all date from the 1884 expedition of the Australian Squadron, when Commodore Erskine proclaimed a British protectorate over the south coast of New Guinea. Although unattributed at the time, all the images were taken by the staff of the New South Wales Government Printing Office. The album is principally intended as a visual record, and bears testament to the importance of the Hood Lagoon in British and Australian ambitions. Through the positioning of images of the official ceremonies alongside topographical views of the surrounding areas, the photographs themselves become a true part of the narrative: and perhaps the first photographic images of the meeting between Imperial forces and Hood Bay chiefs.
A selection of books spanning 90 years of Russian voyages of exploration, from the 1780s ending in 1872 with an rare private letter from the great explorer Lütke to the Russian privy counsellor von Adelung. The official account of the Lütke voyage, one of the rarest and most beautiful of all illustrated Pacific voyage publications is also featured. As well, Choris's magnificent colour plate book of the Pacific, together with accounts of the Krusenstern's circumnavigation, and early visits by Timkovski to China and Golovnin to Japan.
Our latest online List: thirteen broadsides and news printings 1780-1886. Highlights include: three relating to George Anson, two celebrating his naval conquests and one, rather less gloriously concerning the control of venereal disease amongst seamen signed by him as Admiral; a rare Sydney-printed poem lauding the generosity of the merchant Quong Tart; a vivid pictorial printing advertising “dioramic lectures” celebrating Australia & America which toured England in 1850, together with a stirringly large broadside protesting Edward Eyre in Jamaica; and one relating to the abortive attempt by George Grey to force his way into the British Parliament.
A selection of voyage material from two significant private collections. It includes Bligh's classic Voyage account, and Barrow's popular Mutiny account, a fine copy of Parkinson's Voyage to the South Seas uncut in original boards,a handsome set of Cook's three voyage accounts with uniform contemporay provenance, Crozet's Voyage to the South Sea--of significance to Australia and New Zealand and the Voyage of La Perouse-- one of the finest narratives of maritime exploration ever published.
Highlights of our new online list Include Choris's beautiful colour-plate books of the Pacific and Grasset de Saint-Sauveur's unusual Tableau of Pacific islanders. Also included are accounts of Cook's Third Voyage by Ellis and Rickman, a charming French work for the young with plates drawn mainly from Cook; Fleurieu's account of the first French commercial voyage to the Northwest Coast, the second great Russian expedition by Kotzebue and a Swedish edition of Meares' voyage account.