PÉRON, François Auguste (1775-1810); Louis-Claude de Saulces de FREYCINET (1779-1842); and Nicolas BAUDIN (1754-1803)
Voyage de Découvertes aux Terres Australes ... [With:] ... Partie Historique rédigée par M. F. Péron. Atlas par MM. Lesueur et Petit ... [With:] ... Partie Navigation et Géographie ... Avec un Atlas
Paris: De L'Impremerie Imperiale, [1807-]1816 [Historique]; [1812-]1815 [Navigation et Géographie]. 5 volumes [Historique: 3 vols. (2 vols. quarto text [11 1/4 x 8 3/8 inches]; large quarto atlas, two parts in one [12 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches]); Navigation et Géographie: 2 vols. (quarto text [11 1/4 x 8 3/8 inches]; folio atlas [22 3/4 x 17 inches])]. Historique text: half-titles, 2 folding tables, engraved portrait frontispiece; Historique atlas: engraved titles (part one with vignette), 40 stipple and line engraved plates (23 hand coloured, 2 double-page), 14 maps (2 folding). Navigation text: half-title; Navigation atlas: engraved title, 32 engraved maps (25 double-page), uncut.
Expertly bound to style in blue morocco-backed marbled paper covered boards, bound by Atelier Laurenchet, flat spines tooled in gilt, red morocco lettering pieces
Provenance: Pierre Lapie (secretarial presentation inscription by Freycinet on front blank in the Navigation atlas)
The rare complete official narrative and hydrography of the Baudin-Freycinet Expedition: with a presentation inscription to the geographer to the King of France.
The expedition was sent out by the French government in 1800 with orders to complete the cartographic survey of the Australian coast. Commanded by Nicolas Baudin, the expedition left France in 1800 and sailed via Mauritius to the Australian coast in the region of Cape Leeuwin, arriving in May 1801. Peron sailed as naturalist on the expedition and Freycinet as cartographer. The vessels, Geographe and Naturaliste, sailed north from Cape Leeuwin. The expedition surveyed the coast and made observations on the natural history and inhabitants, until they crossed to Timor. After three months the two ships set out for Tasmania, the party continuing to make detailed surveys, and went on to Sydney. They then undertook a complete survey of the southern coast and an examination of the northern coast before returning to Mauritius where, near the end of 1803, Baudin died. It was a celebrated voyage which brought back to France the most important collection of natural history specimens in the history of the French Museum, as well as a wealth of geographical and other information.
The narrative of the expedition was begun by Peron, and completed by Freycinet after Peron's death. A tacit agreement between Peron and Freycinet, both of whom disliked Baudin, kept the commander's name mostly absent from the present official account of the expedition. Flinders completed his survey of the Australian coast before Baudin, but his imprisonment by the French in Mauritius for seven years resulted in the French exploration account being published first. Consequently, the Baudin-Freycinet narrative includes the first complete and fully detailed map of the Australian continent. It is justly one of the most famous depictions of Australia ever produced, with virtually the entire southern coast labeled "Terre Napolean," indicating possible French colonial ambitions. The Atlas Historique contains a group of beautiful color plates, mostly of natural history specimens, many of which depict what the French saw during their important visit to Tasmania.
The Baudin-Freycinet narrative is not always found complete, as the navigational text and atlas were issued on different dates and sold separately from the narrative (i.e Historique). The specialized nature of the navigational section, including the text which constitutes a pilot to the Australian coast, meant that it was not often added to copies of the narrative section. However, as first full atlas of the Australian coastline, its cartographical contribution is of extraordinary value.
The present set with a secretarial presentation inscription by Freycinet to Pierre Lapie, the first geographer to the King of France and Chief of the Topographic section of the War Office. Maps of Australia and the region by Lapie, based on those by Freycinet, would appear in editions of Malte-Brun's atlas in the years following the publication of the present work.
"The Journals of this important expedition are among the finest items of Australiana ever published ...They recount an outstanding voyage of discovery ... In complete form the journals are exceedingly rare" (Davidson).
Hill 1329 (Historique only); Ferguson 449, 536 and 603; Wantrup 78a, 79a, 80a and 81; Dunmore, French Explorers in the Pacific II, pp.9-40; Davidson, Book Collector's Notes, pp.108-10; Sharp, Discovery of Australia, pp.232-39; Plomley, The Baudin Expedition and the Tasmanian Aborigines 1802; Chadenat 148.