Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales with sixty-five plates of non descript animals, birds, lizards, serpents, curious cones of trees and other natural productions. John WHITE.
Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales with sixty-five plates of non descript animals, birds, lizards, serpents, curious cones of trees and other natural productions.

Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales…
Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales with sixty-five plates of non descript animals, birds, lizards, serpents, curious cones of trees and other natural productions.

London: J. Debrett, 1790.

Quarto, engraved title and 65 hand coloured plates; contemporary half calf, in a solander case.

The first natural history of a new colony, with fine hand-colouring

One of the special copies of this classic voyage book in which the natural history engravings are fully coloured. This is a travel and ornithological classic by a medical voyager: John White was the chief surgeon on the "First Fleet", the expedition that colonised New South Wales in 1788. In this specially coloured form, his Journal is one of the most beautiful of Australian colour-plate books, and one of the most attractive, as well as one of the earliest, Australian bird books. Many of the plates were drawn in England by leading natural history artists of the day, such as Sarah Stone and Frederick Nodder, from original sketches done in the colony.

One of the special copies of this classic voyage book in which the natural history engravings are fully coloured. This is a travel and ornithological classic by a medical voyager: John White was the chief surgeon on the "First Fleet", the expedition that colonised New South Wales in 1788. In this specially coloured form, his Journal is one of the most beautiful of Australian colour-plate books, and one of the most attractive, as well as one of the earliest, Australian bird books. Many of the plates were drawn in England by leading natural history artists of the day, such as Sarah Stone and Frederick Nodder, from original sketches done in the colony.

The book was an immediate success on publication, with subscribers alone accounting for seven hundred copies, but only a few were issued in this de luxe form. John White was chief surgeon of the First Fleet, and was particularly successful in that he overcame serious medical problems in appalling conditions both on the voyage out and when the settlement was founded. On joining the First Fleet he had begun to keep a journal in which he would later make notes about birds in the new colony. It was this manuscript which formed the nucleus of his journal. It also provided an interesting and valuable account of the voyage from London, with long, detailed accounts of the stops at Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town and of the colonial voyages to Norfolk Island.

White was a keen amateur naturalist and after arriving at Port Jackson found time to accompany Governor Phillip on two journeys of exploration. The natural history content makes White's particularly noteworthy amongst the First Fleet journals. White's interest in natural history continued until he left New South Wales in December 1794. When the convict artist Thomas Watling arrived in the colony in October 1792 he was assigned to White and in the next two years made many drawings of birds for him. It is possible that White himself had some skill as an artist and that he may have been responsible himself for a portion of the original sketches for some of the engravings here. Others of the engravings, drawn by leading natural history artists of the day such as Sarah Stone, were based on actual specimens which had been sent to England, and which were on display in the windows of the publisher Debrett in a very successful attempt to drum up subscribers for the book.

Abbey 'Travel in Aquatint and Lithography 1770-1860', 605; Casey Wood, 626; Crittenden, 'A Bibliography of the First Fleet', 248; Davidson, 'A Book Collector's Notes', pp. 81-6; Ferguson, 97; Ford, 2495; Hill, 1858; Mathews, Supplement; Nissen, 4390; Wantrup, 17 (and see long discussion in text); Zimmer, 672.

Condition Report: A very good copy with just occasional light spotting; expertly respined; later endpapers.

Price (AUD): $16,500.00

US$12,189.85   Other currencies

Ref: #4504790

Condition Report