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Histoire de la première mission Catholique au vicariate de Mélanésie
Carcassone: P. Labau, 1854. Octavo, with 21 wood-engraved plates and two maps, neat library stamps to title-page; original printed green wrappers, shelf marks, in fine condition. Very scarce description of a French Marist Brothers mission to Melanesia in the late 1840s, with lively accounts of their tour of the Pacific, which included lengthy stays in Port Jackson, New Caledonia, Auckland and Kororareka (Russell). This attractively illustrated memoir was printed in Carcassonne in the Languedoc region of France, and was reissued in Paris seven years later. Verguet was one of a group of French Marist priests who voyaged to the Pacific in 1845. An accomplished sketcher and later a keen amateur photographer, this account is known for its interesting early comments on the region, and particularly for the series of interesting woodcut plates, which include a fine portrait of an Australian Aborigine ("Belé, sauvage de la Nouvelle Hollande") after an original sketch taken from the life. Belé was a member of the Tamara tribe, and at the time was living in the vicinity of Double Bay. The second Sydney scene is a rather odd view of the La Pérouse monument (at "Botanibae") with an emu and two kangaroos taking the breeze. A number of the plates relate to New Caledonia and New Zealand, including two portraits of Maoris, the first of Kapériéré, and the second of a Maori woman and child.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2014-08-15           Check availability:      Biblio    

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