This folio lithograph is from Jules Sebastien Cesar Dumont D’Urville’s Voyage de la Corvette l’Astrolabe exécuté par ordre du Roi pendant les années 1826, 1827, 1828, 1829, sous le commandement de M.J. Dumont d’Urville: Atlas Historique The work was published in Paris by J. Tastu in 1833.
Dumont was a French explorer and naval officer. For thirty-eight months he explored the south and western Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica. Several seaweeds, plants, and shrubs are named after him, as well as D’Urville Island.
This atlas is of particular interest for the lithographs of the Australian and New Zealand region. The work featured both Sydney and Parramatta are described and illustrated in the Atlas Historique, and the illustrations of Port Phillip are the first of to-day’s Melbourne.
The majority of the plates in this work were completed by Louis Auguste de Sainson. Sainson was the official artist of this voyage that was undertaken by the French government for scientific and political purposes. The voyage was inteded “to gain additional information about the principal groups of islands in the Pacific and to augment the mass of scientific data acquired by Louis Duperrey. The Astrolabe sailed south, around the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at Port Jackson. Proceeding to New Zealand, its coast, especially the southern part of Cook Strait, was surveyed with great care. Tonga and parts of the Fiji Archipeligo were explored, then New Britain, New Guinea, Amboina, Tasmania, Vanikoro, Guam and Java. The return home was by way of Mauritius and the Cape of Good Hope. Huge amounts of scientific materials were collected and published” (Hill p. 88).