The first edition of one of the most important scientific explorations ever undertaken to the Pacific and the N.W. American coast, and the first scientific voyage to California. This example a rare survival in original boards.
“The voyage round the world under the command of La Pérouse was intended as the French equivalent of Captain Cook’s third voyage and was enthusiastically endorsed by the Academy of Sciences and particularly by Louis XVI … The most significant results of the voyage are the charts of the then imperfectly known Asiatic coast of the Pacific.” – Forbes.
La Pérouse was the first explorer to navigate and chart the Japan sea and the strait between the island of Sakhalin and the northernmost island of Japan, which bears his name. At Kamchatka he received instructions to proceed to Australia to assess the extent of British plans. He arrived at Botany Bay in January 1788, just hours after Governor Phillip had arrived with the First Fleet. La Pérouse’s habit of forwarding copies of journals and drawings when opportunity offered ensured their survival, for as is well known, the accomplishments of the voyage have been overshadowed by the disappearance of the entire expedition. The folio atlas contains magnificent maps of Russian Asia, Japan, the Pacific North-West Coast, Hawaii, San Francisco, and Monterey; the views include a fine series of botanical and ornithological plates, including the California quail. Of particular interest to Hawaii is the plate that depicts French ships off Makena, Maui. It is the first fully developed view of that island.
First edition. Four text volumes, 4to., (31 x 23.5cm) and folio atlas (61.5 x 45cm). Engraved portrait of La Pérouse after Tardieu, all half-titles, colophon leaf in vol. I-III, vol. IV colophon following index. (vol. IV with a few minor marginal chips repaired.) Atlas with engraved allegorical title-page by Moreau le Jeune, titled Atlas du voyage de La Pérouse without imprint, and 69 engraved plates comprising folding world map, 35 views and natural history plates,33 maps or coastal profiles (20 double-page). Original pink paper covered boards, unopened and uncut, neat repairs and restoration to bindings, spines faded, covers with old residual dampstaining, modern red morocco labels, a fine set.
Hill 972; Forbes 272; Lada-Mocarski 52; Ferguson 251; Brunet III, 828-829; Sabin 4797.
Stock ID: 91034