1801 FREYCINET Swan River Pl 22


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With a handful of voyages to the South Pacific and Australasian regions already under their belt, the French embarked on their greatest maritime venture to date. Under the command of Nicolas Baudin and sanctioned by Napoleon Bonaparte, a substantial scientific voyage was planned with the clear view of ascertaining the viability of establishing a significant French presence in the South Sea. The French were acutely aware of the frailty of Britain’s defence in the newly established colony at Sydney Cove and were keen to test the possibility of establishing outposts in the rapidly developing region. Baudin’s expedition left France in the ‘Geographe’ and ‘Naturaliste’ in 1800 arriving on Australia’s southwest coast at Cape Leeuwin on 30 May 1801 at what is now ‘Geographe Bay’. From here the two boats sailed north along the Western Australian coastline, charting parts of the coast not previously recorded by the Dutch. In the process, the French were the first to make a detailed chart of the Swan River and the current location of Perth as well as providing the first exhaustive survey of Shark’s Bay. Dampier in 1699 had previously surveyed the bay, but not to the extent that we see here on Freycinet’s map.Although Baudin’s voyage was not the success the French hoped it would be, the resulting journals and atlases have left us with a legacy of comprehensive recording of Australian coastlines, natural history and indigenous life. This fine chart of Shark’s Bay was published in the ‘Navigation et Geographie’ part of the Peron / Freycinet atlas, published by Freycinet in 1812 following Peron’s earlier death. It details the complete survey of Shark Bay, noting the various depths of water and including the dates the various soundings were made and the locations of the vessels’ anchorage points. Noted also are the tracks of the ‘Naturalist’, The ‘Geographie’ and the ‘Casuarina’. Three inset maps detail Shark Bay from the perspective of earlier surveys by the Dutch in circa 1697, Dampier in 1699 and St Alouarn in 1772. A later edition bears the stamp of the Hydrographic Office. A much reduced version of this chart was published one year earlier by Freycinet, in the ‘Historique’ part of the atlas (see Perry / Prescott 1811.25). Tooley Ref646

Dimensions 49 × 75 cm
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Carte de la Terre D'Edels et d'une Partie de Celle D'Endracht (a la Nouvelle Hollande) Dressee par M.L. Freycinet Commandant La Goelette le Casuarina (18011803) with an inset plan of the Alrolhos after Lootsman and Van Keulen.Swan river to Sharks Bay



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Fine condition

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