The ASTROLABE 'getting in' water from an ice floe (6th February 1838) Part of the stern and the mizzen mast belonging to LA ZELEE are visible behind another ice floe in the middle distance.
SignificanceThis lithograph appeared as an illustration in the 'Atlas Pittoresque' accompanying the official publication presenting the findings, scientific observations and ethnography made during Dumont d'Urville's second voyage in L'ASTROLABE (1837-1840) which included exploration of Antarctic waters as well as continued visits to tropical and sub-tropical South Pacific islands.
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 during which he was instrumental in the recovery for the Musee de Louvre of the 'Venus de Milo'; he later served with distinction as second-in-command to Captain Louis Duperrey during a circumnavigation in the 'corvette' LA COQUILLE (1822 - 1825).
In 1837 Dumont d'Urville proposed a second voyage to the Pacific. King Louis-Phillipe, wanting to advance French prestige and control, added an exploration of Antarctica to the itinerary. The King provided a second ship and offered a bonus to d' Urville if he managed to extend his explorations and reach further south than the British explorer, James Weddell in 1823. By this stage d'Urville was 47 years old, suffered from gout and migraines and although accompanied by his trusted former second-in-command, Lieutenant Jacquinot, it would be an ambitious journey.
The two ships, L'ASTROLABE and the 'corvette' LA ZELEE, departed France on 7 September 1837 and made for the Canary Islands. It is said that here, at Tenerife
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.