Voyage autour du Monde entrepris par ordre du Gouvernement sur la Corvette La Coquille; par P. Lesson, Membre correspondant de l'Institut. DUPERREY, René Primevere LESSON.
Voyage autour du Monde entrepris par ordre du Gouvernement sur la Corvette La Coquille; par P. Lesson, Membre correspondant de l'Institut.
Voyage autour du Monde entrepris par ordre du Gouvernement sur la Corvette La Coquille; par P. Lesson, Membre correspondant de l'Institut.

Voyage autour du Monde…
Voyage autour du Monde entrepris par ordre du Gouvernement sur la Corvette La Coquille; par P. Lesson, Membre correspondant de l'Institut.

Paris: P. Pourrat Frères, 1839.

Four volumes, octavo, with 42 engravings (portrait, two title-pages, over 20 views, costumes, objects and tools, and coastal profiles as well as 19 coloured engravings of birds and mammals); in a most attractive modern French binding of quarter red calf with glazed green sides, housed in a matching slipcase with leather edges.

With coloured natural history plates

First edition of this uncommon account of the voyage of the Coquille, the French scientific expedition under the command of Louis-Isidore Duperrey. This is the deluxe issue with the natural history plates in colour, including illustrations of the lyre bird, wombat, platypus, opossum, kangaroo and various parrots. Lesson was the naturalist and doctor on Duperrey's voyage: his narrative account is of special interest as this and his Voyage médical were the only separate descriptions to be published as the official history of the voyage was never completed. Otherwise only the "Observations personelles" of Dumont d'Urville, an officer on the voyage, appeared (in volume III of the Astrolabe voyage).

First edition of this uncommon account of the voyage of the Coquille, the French scientific expedition under the command of Louis-Isidore Duperrey. This is the deluxe issue with the natural history plates in colour, including illustrations of the lyre bird, wombat, platypus, opossum, kangaroo and various parrots. Lesson was the naturalist and doctor on Duperrey's voyage: his narrative account is of special interest as this and his Voyage médical were the only separate descriptions to be published as the official history of the voyage was never completed. Otherwise only the "Observations personelles" of Dumont d'Urville, an officer on the voyage, appeared (in volume III of the Astrolabe voyage).

The expedition travelled extensively throughout the Pacific, including Tahiti and the Solomons, and stopped at Port Jackson before sailing to the Bay of Islands. Lesson was a careful and lively observer. He received little formal education and joined the navy as medical assistant; here his natural aptitude was recognised and formal training as a surgeon ensued. Lesson was fascinated by natural history from a young age, and relished the many opportunities offered during the voyage of the Coquille.

Lesson describes his personal interactions with native peoples throughout the Pacific, including King Bungaree at Port Jackson, who was tasked with waiting upon the French officers with his Aboriginal companions. By the early 1820s the Pacific was undergoing rapid social change, and hopeful expectations often did not match the reality encountered. On anchoring in Tahiti the Frenchmen were disappointed, 'finding to their astonishment that this renowned South Seas paradise was turning into a strict, puritanical society ruled by fundamental English missionaries' (Dunmore). Nonetheless Lesson's observations are of lasting value, especially his vocabularies that include Maori and Aboriginal dialects.

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'This voyage of 1822-25, largely scientific in purpose, called at Brazil and the Falkland Islands, and then rounded Cape Horn and sailed along the coast visiting Concepcion, Callao, and Payta. Heading towards the Tuamotu Archipelago, Duperrey discovered Clermont Tonnerre (Reao) and then went on to Tahiti. In June 1823, the Coquille sailed for Port Jackson via Tonga, the Santa Cruz Island, New Britain, New Ireland, and the Moluccas. 1824 saw Duperrey in the Bay of Islands at New Zealand. Next, he sailed to Rotuma, the Gilberts, the Carolines, New Guinea and Java before making his way home. 'The expedition achieved notable scientific results and corrections in maps, much meteorological data, and many rock samples and botanical specimens were brought back. Lesson was the naturalist of this expedition, and his account of the voyage supplies the details which Duperrey failed to publish…' (Hill catalogue).

Ferguson, 2787; Hill, 1012; O'Reilly-Reitman, 828.

Price (AUD): $4,250.00  other currencies Ref: #3612723

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