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Pirogue de Rawak

Date: 1818
Sight: 203 x 271 mm
Image: 203 x 271 mm
Overall: 266 x 311 mm, 0.48 kg
Sheet: 266 x 311 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Sketch
Object No: 00037883

User Terms

    Signed by the URANIE's second draftsman, 16 year-old Adrien Aime Taunay, this ink sketch shows an outrigger canoe from the island of Rawak (located in West Papua).
    SignificanceThis image from the URANIE expedition commanded by Louis de Freycinet between 1817 and 1820 highlights continuing French interest in the Pacific following the Bourbon restoration.
    HistoryAdrien Aime Taunay (1803 - 1828) was a French painter and draftsman.

    The son of history and genre painter Nicolas-Antoine Taunay (1755-1830), Adrien Taunay was the junior draftsman aboard the French expedition vessel URANIE, commanded by Captain Louis de Freycinet.

    Louis de Freycinet was a French naval officer who had participated in the Baudin expedition (1800 - 1804). As one of the crew of LE NATURALISTE, he was held in high regard by Captain Baudin and eventually entrusted with the command of one of the expedition's auxiliary vessels - the CASUARINA, a 20 ton schooner purchased in Port Jackson - in which de Freycinet was tasked to carry out independent surveys of parts of the southern and western Australian coast during 1803.

    As a result of Baudin's death in 1803, the task of writing the expedition report fell to scientist Francois Peron. When Peron died in 1810, Louis de Freycinet completed the voyage account and charts. On the strength of this work, de Freycinet was promoted to the rank of ''Capitaine de vaisseau'' and given command of a new expedition.

    De Freycinet sailed from Toulon in September 1817 in command of the URANIE and subsequently spent three years at sea. His expedition explored parts of South America and Australia as well as many islands in the East Indies and Pacific Ocean. In 1819 the URANIE left Sydney to sail home via Cape Horn but was subsequently wrecked in the Falkland Islands in February 1820. After a few months, de Freycinet bought another ship which he renamed the PHYSICIENNE, and finally reached Le Havre in November 1820.

    The principal object of Louis de Freycinet's expedition was scientific: he was charged to investigate 'the figure of the earth', 'elements of terrestrial magnetism' and 'questions of meterology', and his officers were also expected to make valuable additions to the existing tables of latitude and longitude, and to collect specimens for museums. Jacques Arago, the government draughtsman attached to the expedition, was charged with 'a faithful representation of all such specimens as their weight or liability to break would not allow them to bring away; and that he should take accurate views of the different coasts, which, besides the useful information they would furnish to navigators, would have the advantage of occasionally offering agreeable landscapes' and 'finally, it was to be expected that captain de Freycinet and his companions would add new particulars to the history of savage nations.' (Report to the Academy of Sciences, 1821).

    Louis de Freycinet had intended to sail to the Cape of Good Hope from France, via Tenerife, but winds drove him west to Brazil. He sighted the coast on 4 December 1817 and entered the harbour of Rio de Janeiro two days later, staying until the end of January 1818. Freycinet and his wife visited the French painter Nicolas Antoine Taunay, who had come to Brazil in 1816 as part of the French artistic mission invited by the king to found an academy of fine arts in Rio de Janeiro. Taunay's fifteen year old son and pupil Adrien Aimé, joined the URANIE at Rio as second draughtsman to the voyage.

    A selection of Taunay's drawings and works by Jacques Etienne Victor Arago, J.Alphonse Pellion and August Berard were published in Louis de Freycinet's official account of the voyage - 'Voyage Autour du Monde : fait par ordre du Roi sur les corvettes de S.M. l'Uranie et la Physicienne, pendant les annes 1817, 1818, 1819 et 1820 : Atlas Historique, Paris, 1825'.

    After completion of this voyage, Adrien Taunay returned to Rio de Janeiro in 1820, and devoted himself to the study of arts and languages. There he joined an expedition led by Georg Heinrich von Langsdorf which explored the interior of Brazil between 1825 and 1829 navigating the rivers of the states of São Paulo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso and Pará. Taunay drowned in January 1828 while attempting to cross the Guaporé River.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Pirogue de Rawak

    Assigned title: Pirogue de Rawak work associated with the voyage of the URANIE

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