Paris: Imprimerie Impériale [Royale], 1807/16/07/11; 1815/12.
Bound in five volumes; a handsome set of the complete official edition, including the two-volume quarto narrative text with portrait frontispiece and two folding tables, the two-parts of the large quarto atlas bound as a single volume containing 40 plates (23 coloured and two folding) and 14 maps (two double-page); together with the "Partie Navigation", comprising a quarto text volume and imperial folio hydrographical atlas, the latter with engraved title, contents and 32 engraved charts; bound in matching French quarter red morocco over marbled boards, corners pointed in vellum.
The full account of the Baudin voyage: superbly hand-coloured
The great French voyage of the Napoleonic period, the ambitious voyage to the "terres Australes" or southern continent under Baudin, chronicled by its participants Louis de Freycinet (later to command his own voyage) and the scientist François Péron, and published in six separate volumes over a period of ten years. This is an extremely good set of the first edition of the complete official account of the voyage, in unusually fine condition, with the plates notably crisp and with delicate original hand-colouring. The Baudin voyage has been characterised as the last great Enlightenment voyage, and was perhaps its purest expression, combining as it did scientific curiosity and research, territorial and geo-political ambition, and the spirit of enquiry on the widest scale.
The great French voyage of the Napoleonic period, the ambitious voyage to the "terres Australes" or southern continent under Baudin, chronicled by its participants Louis de Freycinet (later to command his own voyage) and the scientist François Péron, and published in six separate volumes over a period of ten years. This is an extremely good set of the first edition of the complete official account of the voyage, in unusually fine condition, with the plates notably crisp and with delicate original hand-colouring. The Baudin voyage has been characterised as the last great Enlightenment voyage, and was perhaps its purest expression, combining as it did scientific curiosity and research, territorial and geo-political ambition, and the spirit of enquiry on the widest scale.Sent out in 1800, in the first year of Napoleon's consulate, and only two years after the Napoleonic expedition to Egypt, the ships of the expedition returned to France laden with specimens and replete with information in March of 1804, just two months before the Senate's proclamation of Napoleon as Emperor. Live specimens from the "terres Australes" went directly to Joséphine and Napoleon's château at Malmaison on the outskirts of Paris, where kangaroos, emus and black swans would make their unlikely home in the imperial parkland under young gum and wattle trees brought back by the explorers. Although no trace of the introduced vegetation survives in the present-day, much reduced, gardens of Malmaison, the vignette on the title-page of this voyage account memorialises this extraordinary European acclimatisation of the southern exotic.Although the iconography of the southern land may not otherwise have translated into art, design and couture as completely as did the iconographic results of the Egyptian campaign, nonetheless the two can bear comparison in the collection of artefacts and natural curiosities, as well as topographical and other details, and their absorption into their host culture. Although Péron and Freycinet's lengthy account of the Baudin voyage was by no means on the scale of the astonishing Description de l'Egypte, which took twice as long to publish (the twenty years from 1809 to 1829) and consisted of 23 volumes in the first edition, nonetheless the two works whose publication overlapped have a certain similarity of approach and are equal testaments to the ambitions of the Emperor.The images, mostly after drawings made on the spot by the expedition's two most important artists Charles-Alexandre Lesueur and Nicolas-Martin Petit, are among the most beautiful ever conceived in their depiction of Australian Aborigines, particularly those of Tasmania, and of the natural history of the southern lands.The cartography of the voyage was of crucial interest: Baudin's instructions had included specific orders to complete the cartographic survey of the Australian coast; their examination of the western and southern coasts and Tasmania, as well as parts of the northern and eastern coasts, coincided with Flinders' circumnavigation, the two expeditions famously meeting up at the consequently named Encounter Bay in South Australia. With Flinders' subsequent imprisonment by the French, his captors were first into print with their mapping of Australia, the great Hydrographical Atlas appearing in 1812, two years before the publication of Flinders' narrative and charts, and thus the first full Australian atlas, a remarkable achievement for visitors rather than settlers.The official account of the Baudin voyage appeared over ten years, in two quite distinct sections. This is the full set with both sections together in matching bindings: four volumes represent the official narrative of the voyage (usually seen on its own and sometimes referred to as the "general reader's edition"), published between 1807 and 1816 as two volumes of text and a small folio atlas in two parts (including some charting, chiefly of specific ports, and the famous views and portraits of native peoples). The second part, in two volumes, which was quite separately published and actually distributed by a different bookseller, published between 1812 and 1815, is the much rarer Hydrography of the voyage with its large-scale coastal mapping of Australia appearing as an imperial folio atlas accompanied by the volume of partly narrative text.History of the voyageBaudin's two ships, the Géographe and the Naturaliste, left Le Havre on 19 October 1800 and reached Mauritius six months later, but shipboard quarrels and illness caused a mass defection of scientists and sailors. Having rejigged his crew, Baudin set sail for New Holland, sighting Cape Leeuwin on 27 May and anchoring in Geographe Bay three days later. He sailed north and examined Rottnest Island and Swan River, but the two ships became separated on 11 June. The Géographe finally anchored at Shark Bay on 27 June, but had left by the time the Naturaliste arrived. The latter vessel stayed on in Shark Bay to make an extensive survey - including the discovery of the Vlamingh plate - while Baudin and the Géographe worked along the difficult coast past the North West Cape. The two ships ultimately arrived in Timor in August and September; tropical diseases were already causing deaths among the crew.In November they sailed south for Cape Leeuwin where Baudin, ignoring his instructions to begin charting the south coast immediately, headed for Tasmania, making the D'Entrecasteaux Channel in early January. The two vessels began a close survey of the east coast, again becoming separated. Hamelin on the Naturaliste crossed Bass Strait and made a survey of Western Port before running for Port Jackson. Meanwhile Baudin began his survey of "Terre Napoleon", meeting Matthew Flinders at Encounter Bay in April. Worn out, Baudin turned for Sydney, but chose to again round the southern tip of Tasmania, meaning that he did not arrive off Port Jackson until 17 June, his crew severely weakened by scurvy.Hamelin had actually already headed out to search for Baudin in Bass Strait, but the combination of a storm and poor provisions saw him back in Sydney a few days later, and the two ships stayed in Sydney until November. Warmly and hospitably entertained by Governor King, the French spent0 their time recuperating and making sense of their collections.In Sydney Baudin purchased a small vessel which he named the Casuarina, placing the relatively young officer Louis de Freycinet in charge. The Casuarina, just 29 feet in length, was acquired to help make the difficult inshore surveys, and Louis' appointment should be understood as an early notice of his skills in charting. The three vessels left Sydney together, but Baudin decided to send the Naturaliste directly back to France, and Hamelin reached Le Havre on 7 June 1803, having sailed via Mauritius.The Géographe and the Casuarina made close surveys of King Island, Kangaroo Island and the Gulf of St Vincent ("Golfe Joséphine"), before continuing to King George's Sound in western Australia, whence they returned to Shark Bay and the northwest before finally reaching Timor on 7 May 1803. They made a quick return visit to the northwest coast of Australia - their third - and reached Mauritius in July, where Baudin died on 19 September. Command was given to Pierre-Bernard Milius, who had been recuperating in Port Louis where he had been left by Hamelin. The decision was made to abandon the Casuarina, and the remaining crew transferred to the Géographe, which returned home on 25 March 1804, almost three-and-a-half years after they left.
Chadenat, 148; Davidson, Book Collector's Notes, pp.108-10; Dunmore, French Explorers in the Pacific II, pp.9-40; Ferguson, 449, 536, 603; Hill, 1329 (Historique only); Plomley, The Baudin Expedition and the Tasmanian Aborigines 1802; Sharp, Discovery of Australia, pp.232-39; Wantrup, 78a, 79a, 80a, 81.
Price (AUD): $98,500.00 other currencies Ref: #3811937