Souvenirs d'un Aveugle. Voyage autour du monde… [including as final volume:] Chasses-Drame…. FREYCINET: URANIE VOYAGE, Jacques ARAGO.
Souvenirs d'un Aveugle. Voyage autour du monde… [including as final volume:] Chasses-Drame…
Souvenirs d'un Aveugle. Voyage autour du monde… [including as final volume:] Chasses-Drame…
Souvenirs d'un Aveugle. Voyage autour du monde… [including as final volume:] Chasses-Drame…

Souvenirs d'un Aveugle. Voyage autour du monde… [and, as final volume:] Chasses-Drame…
Souvenirs d'un Aveugle. Voyage autour du monde… [including as final volume:] Chasses-Drame…

Paris: Gayet et Lebrun, 1840.

Five volumes, octavo, with a portrait and 59 hand-coloured lithographic plates (a few folding) in the first four volumes and 15 uncoloured plates in the fifth volume; handsome contemporary French quarter olive-green calf, spines with raised bands, ornamented and lettered in gilt.

The artist's narrative: the rare coloured edition

Classic account of the Freycinet voyage around the world of 1817 to 1820: this is the rare and desirable edition in which the sixty lithographs appear in handsome original colouring. Although one of the most frequently published of all nineteenth-century voyage accounts, this third edition is the only version in which the plates appear as this superb suite of coloured lithographs and should be ranked as one of the rarest and most prized Pacific colour-plate books, concentrating on Hawaii and Micronesia as well as Western Australia and New South Wales. This set also includes the scarce fifth supplementary volume devoted to hunting.

Classic account of the Freycinet voyage around the world of 1817 to 1820: this is the rare and desirable edition in which the sixty lithographs appear in handsome original colouring. Although one of the most frequently published of all nineteenth-century voyage accounts, this third edition is the only version in which the plates appear as this superb suite of coloured lithographs and should be ranked as one of the rarest and most prized Pacific colour-plate books, concentrating on Hawaii and Micronesia as well as Western Australia and New South Wales. This set also includes the scarce fifth supplementary volume devoted to hunting.

This last volume, entitled Chasses - Drame, is a selection of further reminiscences that had not appeared in other versions. Complete with 15 (uncoloured) plates, the fifth volume shares the format and design of the first four volumes yet bears a different publisher's imprint (H.-L. Delloye). It contains descriptions of hunting experiences during the voyage, including a 14-page description of a kangaroo hunt in New South Wales. The scarcity of this volume is reflected by the fact it was not described by either of the careful bibliographers Ferguson (on Australia) or Forbes (on Hawaii).

Arago was one of four famous brothers, three of whom were respected authors and artists (the fourth was a general). He 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 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. In his moving opening note Arago observes that 'n'avoir rien vu, c'est n'avoir rien à regretter. On ne perd réellement qu'après avoir possédé… et j'ai tant perdu!'.

The lovely handcolouring in this edition means that Arago's wonderful depictions of the Pacific are given full rein. Volume III is almost entirely devoted to Hawaii (pp. 97-325), with portraits of Young, and Queen Kanoé, alongside many other scenes: the elaborate and colourful headgear and dress of the Hawaiian warriors is especially beautiful. Of special interest is the large section of the book devoted to Australia (pp. 23-163), with no less than five plates depicting Aborigines of New Holland. These include evocative depictions after Péron (artist for the official Freycinet voyage account), as well as Arago's own images of, for instance, a duel in New South Wales, a fierce Maori warrior bailed up by a dandy with two flint-lock pistols, and an Aboriginal man climbing a tree - to the amazement of a European in candy-stripe pants.

Ferguson listed only the Mitchell Library copy (and did not note the additional "Chasses-Drame" volume); Forbes gives a fuller census, but could still only list three more copies.

Borba de Moraes, pp. 44-5 (other editions); Ferguson, 2906; Forbes, 'Hawaiian National Bibliography', 1189; Martin, 22.

Price (AUD): $17,850.00  other currencies     Ref: #4504637

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