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L'Oceanie en estampes

Date: 1832
Overall: 137 x 208 x 42 mm, 0.8 kg
Medium: Ink on paper, marbled boards, leather
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00027898
Place Manufactured:Paris

User Terms

    A book by Jules and Edourd Verreaux titled 'L'Oceanie en Estampes, ou Description Geographique et Historique de toutes les Iles du Grand Ocean et du Continent de la Nouvelle Hollande' [Oceania in Print or Geographical and Historical Description of all the Islands of the Grand Ocean and of the Continent of New Holland]. Published by Librairie Nepveu in Paris and Tilt in London.

    The Verreaux brothers and their father had a world renowned taxidermy shop in Paris. The sons personally travelled to Africa and the Pacific, including Australia, to collect thousands of specimens, including human, to display and sell on their return to France.
    SignificanceAs with so many French books of this era 'L'Oceanie en estampes' is beautifully presented. Ten years before Admiral Paris, it is an excellent summary of French knowledge and perception of world exploration.
    HistoryEdouard and Jules Verreaux were French naturalists, who had jouneyed to the Cape of Good Hope. There, the introduction informs us they came in touch with many travellers to and from exotic parts of the world. They also formed a large collection of 'curios', which were sent to Paris and exhibited, such as a 'ornythyrincus' from New Holland.
    The frontis piece declares that the book is for the education and amusement of the young. In fact it is a quite detailed
    compendium of the current knowledge of the East Indies, the Pacific and Australasia, drawing upon a wide range of French, and other sources.

    Primarily, it's a picture book, with over a 100 illustrations after artist/travellers such as Webber, Hodges, Raffles,
    Baudin and Dumont D'Urville. Notable are the depictions of tattoooed islanders at Nuka Hiva, including Cabri, a famous French beachcomber. Based on an account by Lesson, a scientist with Dumont D'Urville, the descriptions of New Holland are old-fashioned for the 1830's, making little reference to the prosperity of English settlement, and much of the desolate nature of the continent, and its bizarre animals. There are references to the shipwrecks of Flinders, and Pandora, and trepang gathering in the north.
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