The burning of Chief Takofi's huts on the island of Oneata (Tonga Tabou) as a reprisal for the kidnapping of one of the ASTROLABE's boats (with eight crew).
The kidnapping was orchestrated by several deserters from among the ASTROLABE's crew to prevent their recapture. Lithograph by H. van der Burch after original artwork by Louis de Sainson.
SignificanceThis is one of a collection of 43 lithographs which demonstrates French interest in Pacific ethnology; as attested by the illustrations of people and objects of material culture collected or recorded through-out the voyage. Several of the lithographs show views of Vanikoro and its people, as well as scenes from other far-flung or remote places visited during the voyage.
Dumont d'Urville's two expeditions to the Pacific in the ASTROLABE (1826 - 1829; and 1837 - 1840, with LA ZELEE, commanded by Captain Jacquinot) brought back significant scientific collections which emulate the achievements of James Cook in the 1770s and parallel the work of Charles Darwin aboard the BEAGLE.
HistoryCaptain Jules Dumont d'Urville was a French naval officer who commanded two voyages of discovery to the Pacific Ocean and to Antarctica during the Bourbon Restoration (1815-1830) and July Monarchy (1830 - 1848)
At an early stage of his naval career Dumont d'Urville participated in a hydrographic survey of the Aegean Sea and later served with distinction as second-in-command to Captain Louis Duperrey during a circumnavigation in the 'corvette' LA COQUILLE (1822 - 1825)
Due to the success of that voyage, the French Minister for the Navy commissioned another voyage in LA COQUILLE, which was refitted and renamed L'ASTROLABE in recognition of the fact that one of the voyage's objectives was to discover the fate of La Perouse's two ships (L'Astrolabe and La Boussole) which had disappeared without trace in 1788.
The fate of La Perouse's expedition had become a great mystery since the disappearance of the two ships. Unfortunately an opportunity to rescue some survivors and shed new light on the mystery had passed by in 1791 when HMS PANDORA sailed within sight of Vanikoro and ignored smoke plumes indicating that the island was inhabited. The La Perouse expedition’s demise was also a great disappointment in France. The expedition's royal patron (King Louis XVI) is said to have asked, shortly before his execution by guillotine in 1793, whether finally there was some news of La Perouse!
Dumont d'Urville was given command and set off in the renamed 'corvette' in 1826; this first voyage in L'ASTROLABE lasted nearly 3 years (to 1829) and succeeded in finding the wreck of La Perouse's Astrolabe and evidence of a survivors' camp on Vanikoro Island; however, by then none of La Perouse's crews had survived to tell of their fate after shipwreck. Dumont d'Urville erected a monument to La Perouse at Vanikoro before starting the return journey to France. He arrived in Marseilles in February 1829 carrying anchors, chains and guns collected from the wreck site.
On its second Pacific voyage, which included a visit to Anarctica and also lasted almost three years (1837-1840) L'ASTROLABE was accompanied by the 'corvette' LA ZELEE, commanded by Dumont d'Urville's former second-in-command in L'ASTROLABE Lieutenant Jacquinot.
The findings of both voyages were published in Paris accompanied by 'Atlases' containing a wide variety of detailed illustrations, ranging from drawings of collected specimens of natural history and coastal views to portraits of exotic peoples encountered during the voyages.
Dumont d'Urville gained fame for his role in unravelling the disappearance of La Perouse, one of the greatest maritime mysteries of the 19th century and for his exploration of Antarctica. On 8 May 1842 he was killed with his family when the train they were on derailed and caught fire during a journey from Versailles to Paris.
Dumont d'Urville: 'Atlas historique' to 'Voyage de la corvette l'Astrolabe execute par ordre du Roi pendant les annees 1826, 1827, 1828, 1829, sous le commandement de M. Jules S-C Dumont d'Urville
Dumont d'Urville: 'Atlas Pittoresque' to 'Voyage au Pole Sud et dans l'Oceanie sur les corvettes l'Astrolabe et la Zelee, execute par ordre du Roi pendant les annees 1837, 1838, 1839,1840, sous le commandement de M. Jules Dumont d'Urville, Capitaine de Vaisseau.
Primary title: Incendie des cabanes du Chef Takofi sur l'isle Oneata
Assigned title: Lithographs relating to the voyages of Dumont D'Urville