An Historical Collection of the several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean. Alexander DALRYMPLE.
An Historical Collection of the several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean.
An Historical Collection of the several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean.

An Historical Collection of the several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific…
An Historical Collection of the several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean.

London: for the author, 1770-71.

Two volumes, quarto, 16 engraved maps and plates (mostly folding), half-titles, with the rare contents leaf; an extremely attractive set in contemporary tree calf, spine ruled in gilt with double red and green morocco labels.

Dawn of the golden age of Pacific exploration

The highly influential gathering together of geographical knowledge of the Pacific, published during Cook's first voyage and encapsulating the knowledge available from the past for the new explorers, and painting the geographical picture that Cook's voyages would change. The great hydrographer's history of the early voyages to the Southern Ocean is a foundation work for any collection of Pacific voyages. More commonly seen with both volumes bound together as one large volume, this fine and unusually complete set is in an attractive contemporary tree-calf binding.

The highly influential gathering together of geographical knowledge of the Pacific, published during Cook's first voyage and encapsulating the knowledge available from the past for the new explorers, and painting the geographical picture that Cook's voyages would change. The great hydrographer's history of the early voyages to the Southern Ocean is a foundation work for any collection of Pacific voyages. More commonly seen with both volumes bound together as one large volume, this fine and unusually complete set is in an attractive contemporary tree-calf binding.

Alexander Dalrymple, the East India Company-trained hydrographer, had a lifelong interest in the mapping of the Pacific, and the present work is his magnum opus on the subject. Dalrymple had originally been offered the command of the Endeavour voyage to observe the transit of Venus, but partly because of his insistence on being given an Admiralty commission, the command went to Cook instead. His disappointment is hinted at in the remarkable "undedications" of this work, a series of barely disguised and very bitter digs at the three great circumnavigators Byron, Carteret and Wallis.

The work is most famous for its suite of privately-printed maps and views, including his genuinely important "Map of the World, on a new projection" (sometimes called his map of "The Great Pacific Ocean"), and it is fair to say that its original publication effectively announced the dawn of the golden age of Pacific exploration. Dalrymple collected together all the major accounts of Spanish and Dutch voyages: beginning with Magellan's voyage of 1519, together with the Spanish accounts including those of Mendana to the Solomon Islands in 1595 and Quiros in 1606. The Dutch accounts include those of Le Maire, Schouten, Tasman and Roggeveen. Dalrymple's long introduction on trade and his 'investigation of what may be farther expected in the South Sea' expound his belief in the existence of a "Great Southern Continent", a theory firmly laid to rest when Cook later sailed right over it.

This is an excellent copy of the regular issue of the work dated 1770-1771. While collations by later bibliographers sometimes vary, this set does include the full suite of 16 maps and plates, as well as the rare contents leaf with the directions for placing the plates.

Provenance: Samuel Leightonhouse of Orford House, Ugley, Essex (?-1823) with his armorial bookplates.

Hill, 410; Holmes (first edition), 32; James Ford Bell, D20; JCB, III, 1730; Kroepelien, 245; O'Reilly-Reitman, 97.

Condition Report: In fine condition.

Price (AUD): $21,000.00

US$14,831.73   Other currencies

Ref: #4403275

Condition Report