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A Voyage to Terra Australis; undertaken for - FLINDERS, Matthew - 1814. 
G. and W. Nicol, London 1814 - Two volumes quarto, and the atlas, elephant folio; the charts in the atlas all in their first issue and in the largest format; nine plates in the text; the atlas containing 16 folding or double-page charts, two plates (on four double-page sheets) of coastal views, and 10 double-page botanical plates; a very good set, the text in well-preserved contemporary calf, spines panelled in gilt in compartments between raised bands, red leather lettering-pieces and green leather numbering-pieces; the atlas in contemporary half calf and marbled boards, spine lettered boldly along its length; joints of text and atlas volumes neatly repaired. A wonderful set of the great classic of Australian coastal exploration, in fine condition and with the atlas in its preferred largest format and, startlingly, the first of the text volumes inscribed "From the Author". The old myth that Flinders died as his long-awaited book was put into his hands has long since been debunked but an example of his great book with a deliberate presentation inscription, probably put there at his request by his publisher Nicol, is of exceptional interest and rarity.We have handled this remarkable copy twice before, first in the 1980s.The two extensive text volumes and the accompanying very large volume of charts of the coastline represent the magnificent achievement that was Flinders's voyage in the Investigator, the full-scale expedition to discover and explore the entire coastline of Australia (the name that Flinders himself preferred and championed). Flinders was the first to circumnavigate the continent, finally establishing that Australia was one large island and not, as previously had been speculated, divided by a navigable central strait.The three volumes form the complete record of the expedition with an authoritative introductory history of maritime exploration in Australian waters from the earliest times. The text contains a day by day account of the Investigator voyage and Flinders' later voyages on the Porpoise and the Cumberland. Robert Brown's 'General Remarks, geographical and systematical, on the Botany of Terra Australis', which is illustrated by Ferdinand Bauer's botanical plates in the atlas, is printed in an appendix in the second volume. The text is illustrated by William Westall's nine engraved plates in the text and two double-page plates of coastal views in the atlas. These are in many cases the very earliest views of the places visited and discovered on the voyage. Flinders's charts in the atlas were of such accuracy that they continued to be issued by the Admiralty for decades and form the basis of all modern charts of Australia. The charts in this copy are all of the first issue."Flinders's Voyage to Terra Australis is the most outstanding book on the coastal exploration of Australia. It is the centrepiece in any collection of books dealing with Australian coastal discovery. Such is the historical importance of this monumental work that no general collection of Australian books could be considered complete without it" (Wantrup). This is a remarkable copy, in the best possible format and inscribed as a presentation copy from the great navigator. A little light offsetting from the plates in the text volumes, but less than usual. [Attributes: Signed Copy; Hard Cover]
[Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
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