Voyage à la Nouvelle Guinée, dans lequel on trouve la description des Lieux, des Observations physiques & morales, & des détails relatifs à l'Histoire Naturelle dans le Regne…. Pierre SONNERAT.
Voyage à la Nouvelle Guinée, dans lequel on trouve la description des Lieux, des Observations physiques & morales, & des détails relatifs à l'Histoire Naturelle dans le Regne…

Voyage à la Nouvelle Guinée…
Voyage à la Nouvelle Guinée, dans lequel on trouve la description des Lieux, des Observations physiques & morales, & des détails relatifs à l'Histoire Naturelle dans le Regne…

Paris: chez Ruault, 1776.

Quarto, with 119 plates (numbered to 120, with one numbered "90 et 91"), some folding; faint stain on plates 15 and 16; a fine copy, with the half-title, in a most attractive contemporary German binding of quarter diced calf, flat spine ornately gilt.

The great New Guinea book, and Banks's laughing kookaburra

A very attractive copy of the first edition of Sonnerat's important book on New Guinea, the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies, and accidentally an odd Australian "first" (see below).

A very attractive copy of the first edition of Sonnerat's important book on New Guinea, the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies, and accidentally an odd Australian "first" (see below).

Sonnerat, whose uncle Pierre Poivre was the Intendant of Mauritius, was sent on a spice- and plant-hunting voyage; he made his first stop in the Seychelles. His book is superbly illustrated with natural history engravings after his own original drawings. The famous frontispiece is a self-portrait of the author sitting under a coco-de-mer palm, while the first four plates show details of the palm and its botany; the text includes one of the earliest descriptions of the palm, and of its habitat in the early days of the colony. The first folding plate is a coastal panorama of the Seychelles and Coétivy Island, the first to appear in any publication.

Another engraving (plate 106) is, remarkably, one of the very earliest printed depictions of an Australian bird - the laughing kookaburra, wrongly identified by Sonnerat as the "Grand Martin-Pêcheur de la nouvelle Guinée". It in fact depicts one of the kookaburras caught by Sir Joseph Banks on the east coast of Australia in 1770. On the Endeavour's return journey, Banks gave a specimen of the bird to Sonnerat when they met at the Cape of Good Hope. This is how the bird acquired its incorrect but lasting scientific name Dacelo novaguineae, since Latham followed Sonnerat's original mis-identification when he described Banks's remaining specimens in his General Synopsis of Birds of 1782.

Nissen, IVB, 885; Stafleu, TL2, 12.451a; Stanbury & Phipps, p. 88; Whittell pt. 2, p.676 (and see pt. 1, p.18); Zimmer, pp. 596-7.

Price (AUD): $8,400.00

US$5,778.58   Other currencies

Ref: #5000401