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RÃ©lation du Voyage Ã la Recherche de La - LABILLARDIERE, Jacques Julien Houton - 1800. 
Paris: H.J. Jansen, 1800. In good condition in original bindings.. Two volumes, large quarto, with folio atlas containing 44 engraved plates and maps; an excellent uniform set, the text completely untrimmed, in original buff boards. First edition of the narrative by the naturalist on the d'Entrecasteaux expedition, in which Australia was fully circumnavigated, if sometimes at a distance, and the islands surrounding investigated for traces of La PÃ©rouse. LabillardiÃ¨re, botanist on the voyage, remains an important figure in early Australian science as the author of the first extensive monograph on Australian botany. The voyage spent many months on the coasts of Western Australia, just a year after Vancouver's visit, and made two long visits to Tasmania, charting, botanising and exploring the coasts. The visits are remembered in numerous place names, most notably Recherche Archipelago and Recherche Bay, named for the expedition's ship. LabillardiÃ¨re's account is one of very few eighteenth-century accounts of Australian exploration, and the only major French account of the continent in the early settlement period to be published in the same century. The important narrative based on the commander d'Entrecasteaux's papers, did not appear until 1808.The work is particularly interesting for its descriptions (and illustrations) of Tasmania, Tonga, New Caledonia, and New Guinea, and the atlas contains outstanding views of these areas by the official artist Piron. Included is the famous engraving of the black swan. the first large depiction of the exotic Australian bird. Fourteen botanical plates, all by or produced under the direction of RedoutÃ©, the most famous of all botanical artists, include two of Eucalypts and two of Banksias.It was a notable voyage in itself, although also beset by tragedy: the commander, d'Entrecasteaux, died of a 'dreadful cholic' shortly before the expedition collapsed in Batavia. There they learned of the French Revolution, and D'Auribeau, then commander, and the principal officers being monarchists, put themselves under Dutch protection, arrested the remainder of the officers, including LabillardiÃ¨re the naturalist, and Piron the artist, and disposed of the ships. D'Auribeau in turn died, and was succeeded by Rossel, who managed to return to Europe and later edited the manuscripts for the official account. The papers and natural history specimens were seized en route and carried to England, but in 1796, with the urging of Sir Joseph Banks, were returned to France under a flag of truce.Because LabillardiÃ¨re was a Republican, his account appeared first, while that of d'Entrecasteaux had to wait until the restoration of the monarchy. The atlas appeared a year earlier than the text.
[Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
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