Item #5000662 Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales with sixty-five plates of nondescript animals, birds, lizards, serpents…. John WHITE.
Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales with sixty-five plates of nondescript animals, birds, lizards, serpents…

Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales…
Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales with sixty-five plates of nondescript animals, birds, lizards, serpents…

London: J. Debrett, 1790.

Quarto, engraved title page with vignette and 65 plates; in a very good period-style quarter calf binding by Aquarius, flat spine gilt in compartments.

The third major First Fleet book, and the most important on early natural history

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. His Journal is 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.

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. His Journal is 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. 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.

This copy is complete with both the list of subscribers and the publisher's advertisement.

Provenance: A private New South Wales collection.

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; Nissen ZBI, 4390; Wantrup, 17; Zimmer, 672.

Condition Report: Apart from just a few scattered age marks a fine copy.

Price (AUD): $8,750.00

US$5,755.83   Other currencies

Ref: #5000662

Condition Report