Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia. Performed between the years 1818 and 1822…. Phillip Parker KING.
Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia. Performed between the years 1818 and 1822…

Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia…
Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia. Performed between the years 1818 and 1822…

London: John Murray, 1827.

Two volumes, octavo, with nine aquatint views, large folding map, smaller engraved chart and three engraved natural history plates (one folding), untrimmed and partially unopened; in modern green half morocco gilt.

King's survey voyage: a fine set

First edition of this great book, recounting the Australian coastal voyages of the Mermaid and the Bathurst.

First edition of this great book, recounting the Australian coastal voyages of the Mermaid and the Bathurst.

Admiral Phillip Parker King (1791-1856), Australian-born son of the third governor Philip Gidley King, became the British navy's leading hydrographer. His Australian coastal voyages, together with Oxley's expeditions inland, representedA the great expansionary undertakings of the Macquarie era. King charted the greater part of the west, north and north-east coasts and also carried out important surveys in the area of the Barrier Reef. His hydrographical work is still the basis of many of the modern charts for the areas he surveyed.

From 1815 or so, British interest in the largely uncharted northern and north-western coast of Australia had increased, partly out of concern at the territorial ambitions of other nations, especially the Dutch and the French. Much in the same way that Flinders was commissioned due to English concerns over the Baudin expedition, King was given his command because of anxiety about the planned Freycinet voyage. As a direct result, King was sent from England in 1817, with Admiralty instructions to complete the survey of Australia and finish the charting begun by Flinders and Baudin. By 1824-25 he had issued a series of eight large charts showing the northern coasts, to be followed with this complete printed journal of his expedition. The engraved views were taken from King's own sketches.

The work also includes significant natural history essays, including work by John Edward Gray, William Sharp Macleay and William Henry Fitton, three senior British scientists. Easily the most interesting section, however, is the long essay by Allan Cunningham, 'A Few General Remarks on the Vegetation of certain coasts of Terra Australis…'. Cunningham had sailed with King, and so this section has the added interest of eyewitness reportage, as well as comparisons between the botany of east and west coasts. Cunningham's report is supplemented by notes from Robert Brown, and the whole section concludes with three natural history plates.

This is the regular 1827 issue: a few copies survive with an 1826 date on the title-pages, without any other points of difference (the 1826 issue appears to be a presentation issue of some kind, as is attested by the fact that where seen they are often accompanied by some sort of manuscript dedication).

Abbey,Travel in Aquatint and Lithography 1770-1860, 573; Davidson, A Book Collector's Notes, pp. 127-8; Ferguson, 1130; Australian Rare Books, 84b.

Condition Report: Some browning, noticeably to the plates, but an attractive set.

Price (AUD): $8,250.00

US$5,675.39   Other currencies

Ref: #4503918

Condition Report