Atlas of plates: "Atlas pour servir à la Relation du Voyage à la Recherche de La Pérouse" LA PEROUSE, Jacques Julien Houtou de LABILLARDIERE.
Atlas of plates: "Atlas pour servir à la Relation du Voyage à la Recherche de La Pérouse".
Atlas of plates: "Atlas pour servir à la Relation du Voyage à la Recherche de La Pérouse".

Atlas of plates for the "Rélation du Voyage à la Recherche de La Pérouse"…
Atlas of plates: "Atlas pour servir à la Relation du Voyage à la Recherche de La Pérouse".

Paris: Dabo, Libraire, 1817.

Folio atlas with engraved title and 44 engraved maps and plates; contemporary quarter dark brown morocco and marbled sides.

Discovering Venus de Medici and the Wounded Amazon in Tasmania and Melanesia

The 1817 reissue of the Labillardière atlas, unchanged from the first edition of 1800, indeed apparently from the same printing but issued with a new title-page. This reissue, which appeared without text volumes, is noted (without particular comment) by the McLaren bibliography and recorded by Ferguson from copies in the Mitchell Library and the Tasmanian parliamentary library. The atlas may well have been published to accompany text volumes that remained in print from the earlier edition. In this form it offers a chance to acquire the remarkable series of engravings: three fine bird studies by Audibert, a total of fourteen superb botanical engravings all by or produced under the direction of Redouté, the most famous of all botanical artists, including a very fine Banksia and a wonderful flowering eucalyptus. There are splendid portraits of natives of Tasmania, Tonga, New Caledonia, and New Guinea, along with a series of very detailed engravings of native artefacts, and outstanding views of these areas by the official artist Piron. Included too is the famous engraving of the black swan, the first large depiction of the exotic Australian bird.

The 1817 reissue of the Labillardière atlas, unchanged from the first edition of 1800, indeed apparently from the same printing but issued with a new title-page. This reissue, which appeared without text volumes, is noted (without particular comment) by the McLaren bibliography and recorded by Ferguson from copies in the Mitchell Library and the Tasmanian parliamentary library. The atlas may well have been published to accompany text volumes that remained in print from the earlier edition. In this form it offers a chance to acquire the remarkable series of engravings: three fine bird studies by Audibert, a total of fourteen superb botanical engravings all by or produced under the direction of Redouté, the most famous of all botanical artists, including a very fine Banksia and a wonderful flowering eucalyptus. There are splendid portraits of natives of Tasmania, Tonga, New Caledonia, and New Guinea, along with a series of very detailed engravings of native artefacts, and outstanding views of these areas by the official artist Piron. Included too is the famous engraving of the black swan, the first large depiction of the exotic Australian bird.

Bernard Smith has written (European Vision and the South Pacific, 2nd edn, 1817, pp. 149-152) about the images in the atlas, and particularly the portraits which with "no sentiment, no sensuousness, no sense of luxury, no aura of soft primitivism clinging about the dry, wiry natives" derive rather from the school of "heroic stoicism" of Jacques Louis David. Smith notes that Piron, the official artist of the voyage, instead models his portraits on the classical ideal and his portraits are more than simply reminiscent of such classical icons as the Venus de Medici, and the Polykleitos depictionsof Doryphoros and the Wounded Amazon.

Ferguson, 682; Kroepelien, 697; McLaren, Lapérouse in the Pacific, 67; not in the catalogue of the Hill collection.

Price (AUD): $11,250.00  other currencies Ref: #4504932

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