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Lot 0059
Relation du voyage à la recherche de La Pérouse fait par ordre de l'Assemblée Constituante, pendant les années 1791, 1792, et pendant la Iere. et la 2e. année de la République Françoise. LA PEROUSE, Jean Francois Galup de. - LABILLARDIÈRE, Jacques Julien Houtou de (1755-1834). Paris: H. J. Jansen, An VIII [1799-1800]. 2 volumes, 8vo (8 x 4 3/4 inches), and one folio atlas volume (21 1/8 x 13 1/4 inches). xvi, 440; 332, 109, [3] pp. Half-titles, errata leaf at end. (Some mostly faint discoloration to text, else fine; quire 21 in vol. II bound out of order, and misbound into it are 2 extra leaves from a different copy of vol. I, consisting of a cancellans of fol. 8/3 [pp. 117-118] and a duplicate of fol. 8/6 [pp. 123-124].) Atlas: engraved title, large engraved folding map by d'Houdan after J. D. Barbié du Bocage, printed on pale blue-green paper, and 43 engraved plates, numbered 2-44, engraved by Copia, Perée, or Maleuvre (1) and printed by Dien, after Piron, Jean-Baptiste Audebert (ornithological plates), and Pierre-Joseph Redouté (botanical plates). (Pl. 24 torn and repaired, pl. 2 slightly browned, occasional marginal foxing.) Text volumes bound in contemporary tree calf, sides gold-tooled with narrow vine border, smooth spines finely gold-tooled with red and green straight-grained morocco gilt lettering-pieces, marbled edges, atlas volume in modern antique-style calf-backed boards, spine gilt and with lettering-pieces to match the text volumes, edges uncut. A fine, large copy of the first octavo edition, published concurrently with the quarto edition, of this celebrated account of the expedition sent by the French Assembly in search of the vanished La Pérouse, written by the doctor and naturalist who accompanied the expedition. Under the general command of Bruni d'Entrecasteaux, two ships bearing 219 men set sail in September 1791, proceeding round the Cape of Good Hope to the Australian coast and Tasmania, where they spent months searching doggedly but in vain for a trace of the great navigator and his party, last seen in Botany Bay in 1788. In the course of the search the ships circumnavigated Australia twice, and visited New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, the Admiralty Islands, Tonga, New Guinea, and New Britain. The expedition was plagued by misfortune; not only was no trace of La Pérouse's party found, but a large number of crewmen perished from scurvy, which killed d'Entrecasteaux himself in the summer of 1793, soon after the death of his fellow commander Kermadec. Following the loss of its leaders, and split between royalist officers and a crew supporting the revolutionaries, the expedition dispersed. Although it failed to achieve its primary goal, the voyage was of considerable importance for the numerous important scientific observations - geographical, ethnographic, botanical, zoological and hydrographic - made throughout the region. In 1795 the expedition papers and Labillardière's botanical and zoological specimens were seized by British forces, but, at the urging of Joseph Banks and the Royal Society, were returned a year later, enabling Labillardière to be the first to publish an account of the voyage. Of particular scientific interest for his description of the Tongas, "an excellent contribution to the ethnology of that people" (Hill), Labillardière's detailed narrative includes as well the first scientific descriptions of the New Zealand flax and several other New Zealand plants, specimens of which he brought back, and appendices containing glossaries of Malay and of the native languages of Tasmania, Tonga, New Caledonia, and Waygiou (New Guinea), with tables charting the route of the Espérance. The illustrations of the atlas volume, most after Piron, include detailed depictions of native headdresses and activities (preparation of meals, fishing, dancing), ceremonial objects, tools, boats and views of the islands, four plates of birds, of which three after Audebert, and 14 botanical plates after Redouté. This octavo edition, of which two issues, differing in the publisher's addresses, are known, was printed at the same time as the quarto edition; priority has not been established. Sabin 38420; Hill 954; Ferguson 307 (quarto edition with atlas) and 308 (8vo text vols.). Guidance: Christie's, April 16, 2007 - $7,800

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Octavo Edition of La Perouse's Voyage

Estimate $6,000 - $8,000Oct 28, 2017