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Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales with sixty-five plates of non descript animals, birds, lizards, serpents, curious cones of trees and other natural productions
London: J. Debrett, 1790. Just a few light spots but overall in fine condition and the plates clean and bright with original colouring unfaded.. Quarto, engraved title and 65 handcoloured plates; a very good copy in a particularly handsome modern tree calf binding with ornately gilt-panelled spine, by Aquarius. First edition, the marvellous hand-coloured issue of the famous First Fleet book. Surgeon John White's Journal is one of the most beautiful of Australian colour-plate books, and one of the earliest Australian bird and natural history accounts, with 63 of the wonderful plates depicting Australian specimens.White was chief surgeon of the First Fleet, and particularly successful in that he overcame serious medical problems in appalling conditions both on the voyage out and when the settlement was founded. He was also a keen amateur naturalist and after arriving at Port Jackson found time to accompany Phillip on two journeys of exploration. On joining the First Fleet he had begun to keep a journal in which he would later make notes about birds in the new colony. It was this manuscript which formed the nucleus of his journal. It also provided an interesting and valuable account of the voyage from London, with long, detailed accounts of the stops at Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town and of the colonial voyages to Norfolk Island. White's interest in natural history continued until he left New South Wales in December 1794. When the convict artist Thomas Watling arrived in the colony in October 1792 he was assigned to White and in the next two years made many drawings of birds for him. It is possible that White himself had some skill as an artist and that he may have been responsible himself for a portion of the original sketches for some of the engravings here. Others of the engravings, drawn by leading natural history artists of the day such as Sarah Stone, were based on actual specimens which had been sent to England, and which were on display in the windows of the publisher Debrett in a very successful attempt to drum up subscribers for the book - of which there were over 700. The number of "points" that have interested collectors in the past are mostly rather pointless now that many copies have been properly described. However in the interest of completeness, we note that this copy: 1) has the standard form of the List of Plates; 2) has the List of Subscribers, which is not always present; 3) has the draughtsmen's names somewhat faintly printed (as we know to be normal) but certainly not deteriorated; 4) has the cancelled state of the Wattled Merops text on p.240 and the Superb Warblers on p.256; and 5) includes the final 4 pp. advertisements not present in all copies. Provenance: Private collection (Sydney).
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2017-10-24           Check availability:      Biblio    


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