A coloured engraving from the account of Louis Baudin's voyage to Australia in the ships LE GEOGRAPHE and LE NATURALISTE in 1801 - 1804.
The islands depicted are 1. Mewstone (A.) Iles De Witt (The Witt Islands) (B.) 2. Ile Tasman (Tasman Island) (C.) 3. La Piramide (The Pyramid) D. Groupe De Kent (The Kent Group) (E.) 4. Vue Du Promontoire De Wilson (View Of Wilson Promontory) (F.) 5. Vue D'une Partie De La Cote Occidentale De I'ile Decres: Cap Borda (G.) Ravine Des Casoars (H.) (View Of Part Of The Western Coastline Of Decres Island...)
All the engravings are after artwork by Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, the artist and later naturalist, of Baudin's voyage to Australia.
SignificanceThe engravings are significant in documenting French exploration of Australia in the early 19th century. The book the engravings have been removed from is "Voyage de Decouvertes aux Terres Australes Executesur les Corvettes le Geographe et le Naturaliste" by M.F. Peron and Louis de Freycinet .
HistoryCharles-Alexandre Lesueur joined Baudin's ship LE GEOGRAPHE at the age of 23 as an assistant gunner. His genuine interests were in natural history and he demonstrated impressive artistic skill, but this expedition by Baudin, supported by Napoleon, was so well funded and positions on board so sought after, that Lesueur semed content to be aboard in any capacity. It was said that "the most inferior stations had been sought for with avidity, and some of them were filled by young men of the most respectable families in Normandy".
Despite the attention and funding of the expedition, conditions on board the ships quickly became unbearable and by May 1802, Peron, who became Lesueur's close friend and colleague aboard wrote "The scurvy, which had succeeded to the dysentry, pervaded the ship to an alarming extent. Already several men had been consigned to the deep; already more than half of our crew were incapbale of any duty; and of our helmsmen, two alone could keep the deck. The progress of this epidemic was frightful."
Out of five zoologists orginally on board, only Peron was left. Lesuer's artistic merit had been recognised early on in the voyage and he had since been promoted to the 'honorable station of painter of natural history'. Lesueur therefore became Peron's trusted collegue and friend and together they collected around 100,000 natural specimans with Lesueur painting or drawing around 1500 images.
Both Lesueur and Peron survived the expedition and made it back to France. Peron wrote the official account of the voyage as Baudin had died in September 1803 on the Isle de France.
Primary title: Terre de Diemen et Nouvelle-Hollande, plate III
Primary title: Land of Diemen and New Holland, plate 30