Exceptionally rare. Two pencil drawings from the second voyage of HMS Beagle, the first by the expedition’s commander Capt. Robert FitzRoy (1805-1865), the second by the second of the voyage’s official artists: Conrad Martens. Fitzroy’s drawing, which shows three Patagonians in the foreground, was further worked up and reproduced in the official account of the Beagle’s voyage opposite page 208 in volume II. Martens’ drawing shows an unfinished sketch of a large panorama in Tahiti.
The Beagle’s second expedition, with Darwin on board, left Plymouth on December 27, 1831, with the purpose of surveying the coast and waters of South America. Over the next five years Capt. Fitzroy sailed the Beagle around South America, the Galapagos Islands, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, to name but a few of the places visited. ‘The five years of the voyage were the most important event in Darwin’s intellectual life and in the history of biological science… The experiences of his five years… and what they led to, built up into a process of epoch-making importance in the history of thought’ (DSB).
Conrad Martens joined HMS Beagle as official artist in Montevideo towards the end of 1833, after Augustus Earle became too ill to continue on the voyage. Having previously been topographical artist to Captain Blackwood’s voyage in HMS Hyacinth, Martens set sail on the Beagle, becoming a life-long friend of Charles Darwin. He left the ship at Valparaiso taking passage to Tahiti, where he spent seven weeks sketching. Subsequently he sailed for Sydney, and it was here that the drawings he executed in Tahiti were purchased by Robert Fitzroy, and used to illustrate his account of the Beagle’s voyage.
Two pencil drawings on artist’s paper; the first by Robert Fitzroy, on two sheets from an artist’s sketchbook, joined on the verso (270 x 420mm); the second on three sheets from an artist’s sketchbook joined on the verso, with an additional sketch on the verso, ms. annotations in pencil. With three engraved printer’s proofs after drawings by Phillip Parker King, two 300 x 440mm (140 x 227mm plate size) and 300 x 220mm (237 x 150mm plate size).
Stock ID: 98553