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 ...
Paris: L'Imprimerie Imperiale, [1807-]1816. 3 volumes (2 vols. quarto text [12 x 8 1/2 inches]; large quarto atlas, two parts in one [13 1/2 x 10 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). Extra-illustrated with an additional portrait of Baudin bound as the frontispiece in vol. 1 text, and 25 additional unnumbered engraved plates (9 hand coloured, including 2 plates of engraved sheet music), comprising all the plates added to the 1824 second edition atlas.
Nineteenth century green calf backed marbled paper covered boards, flat spines divided into compartments with gilt roll tools, lettered in gilt in the second and fourth compartments, the others with a repeat decoration in gilt, marbled endpapers
The rare first edition of the official narrative of the Baudin-Freycinet Expedition: a unique example extra-illustrated with additional plates from the second edition.
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. In 1824, a revised second edition of the narrative was published containing 23 additional plates (including four new portraits of aborigines), as well as two plates of engraved sheet music, being the earliest notation of any indigenous Australian music and a rendering of the Aboriginal cooee call. Unusually, the present set of the first edition is bound with these additional plates as extra-illustrations, as well as an additional inlaid portrait of Baudin after Joseph Jauffret stipple engraved by Mecou.
Hill 1329; Wantrup 78a, 79a & 82; Ferguson 449, 536; 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.