Zamorano 80 #49
Atlas in Original Boards & Large Paper
68. [LA PÉROUSE, Jean-François de Galaup]. Voyage de La Pérouse Autour du Monde, Publié Conformément au Décret du 22 Avril 1791, et Rédigé par M. L. A. Milet-Mureau, Général de Brigade dans le Corps du Génie, Directeur des Fortifications, Ex-Constituant, Membre de plusieurs Sociétés littéraires de Paris. Tome Premier [-Quatrieme, and Atlas du Voyage de la Pérouse]. Paris: De L’Imprimerie de la République, [Imprimé par les soins de P. D. Duboy-Laverne] An V. (1797). 4 vols. as follows:
Vol. I:  lxxii, 346 [1, colophon (verso blank)] pp., copper-engraved frontispiece portrait of La Pérouse.
Vol. II:  398 [1, colophon (verso blank)] pp.
Vol. III:  422 [1, colophon (verso blank)] pp.
Vol. IV:  309 pp.
 (copper-engraved emblematic title including a chart of the Pacific showing the track of the voyage) pp., 69 copper-engraved plates, maps, and charts on thick paper, one of which is folding and 20 double-page (see below for a partial list of maps, charts, and profiles). The atlas contains maps, charts, profiles, and plates (views on land and at sea, flora and fauna, costumed groups of ethnological interest, etc.). The frontispiece portrait of La Pérouse found in some copies of the atlas is not present in this copy. (Lada-Mocarski 52 states that the portrait is sometimes absent in the large paper variant of the atlas, like the present copy).
Text vols.: 4 vols., 4to, contemporary full tan diced calf, spine with raised bands and gilt-lettered title and volume numbers, covers ruled in gilt, turn-ins gilt rolled, marbled endpapers, all edges with later sepia mottling. Minor flaws to binding skillfully restored and repaired, some corners slightly bumped, interior fine and fresh. Wanting half titles. Engraved armorial bookplates of Williams Downes (plate in Vol. III applied upside down on the back pastedown). DNB lists a Williams Downes (1752-1826), first Baron, chief justice of the king’s bench in Ireland.
Atlas: Large folio, original tan boards, original leather morocco gilt-lettered spine label. The atlas is the large paper issue on thick paper, measuring larger than the Streeter, Clifford, or Volkmann copies (62 x 45.6 cm; 24-1/2 x 16-3/4 inches), entirely untrimmed. Some moderate outer wear to fragile boards and light chipping to spine label. A few plates with mild dust-soiling to blank edges. A very fine, complete copy in as-issued condition, with all of the maps, charts, and plates fresh, bright, and in good, strong impressions, mounted on original blue waste paper stubs. Preserved in a three-quarter tan calf and marbled boards clamshell case.
All in all, this is a handsome set of a rare voyage.
First edition, the desirable large paper copy. Allen, “Laperouse: A Check List” in California Historical Quarterly 20 (1941), p. 50. Anker, Bird Books and Bird Art 276 (with note on ornithological text and artists). Barrett, Baja California 1435. Brunet 19862. Cf. Cowan I, pp. 135-136n (citing the 1799 London edition) & p. 273: “[La Pérouse] landed at Monterey in September, 1780. His stay was only ten days, but during the visit he was able to give the best account of the period of natural resources. It is of interest to note that he was the first foreign visitor to come to these shores after the founding of Upper California’s first mission.” Cowan II, p. 383. Cox I, p. 67. Day, Pacific Islands Literature, One Hundred Basic Books 26. Ferguson, Australian Bibliography 268. Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 272: “The portrait of La Pérouse...is frequently bound as a frontispiece to Volume I but is sometimes found bound in the atlas.... Of particular interest to Hawaii is the plate that depicts the French ships off Makena, Maui. It is the first fully developed view of that island.” Grinnell, California Ornithology, p. 7 (first item). Graff 2397n. Hill I, p. 173. Hill II:972. Harlow, Maps of San Francisco Bay 15 (early printed map of the port of San Francisco); Maps of the Pueblo Lands of San Diego 9 (second printed map of the port of San Diego). Holliday 636. Howell 50, California 141. Howes L93. Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 49. JCB 3907 (text vols.). Judd 102. Lada-Mocarski 52. Libros Californianos, p. 39. Lopez Memorial Museum, Catalogue of Filipiana Materials 261. Mathes, California Colonial Bibliography 69. McLaren 1. Cf. National Maritime Museum: Voyages 136 & 137 (citing English editions). Nordenskiöld II:133. Phillips, Atlases 688. Phillips, Maps of America, p. 1095. Sabin 38960. Smith 2109. Staton & Tremaine 596. Strathern 304. Streeter Sale 3493. Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 837-848, pp. 199-201: “The long delay in publishing the observations and the maps of the voyage was fatal to any chance they might have had of receiving recognition.” Wickersham 6611. Zamorano 80 #49.
Howell, Anniversary Catalogue 72 (Richard Reed’s essay): “La Pérouse’s Voyage is one of the great documents of French exploration in the Pacific Ocean. In addition to a detailed account of the expedition itself, these volumes contain invaluable scientific information, observations on the natives that were encountered, and a wealth of geographic and cartographic data. The beautiful Atlas, with its finely engraved maps, charts, and plates, includes a detailed chart of San Francisco Bay, the first representation of the crested quail, and several maps and plates of the harbors at Monterey and San Diego, as well as two charts and one view of the Sandwich Islands. It is a magnificent production, and some authorities consider the engraving and craftsmanship to be superior even to that in the Cook-Webber Atlas (see Item 26 herein) that accompanies the journals of the great English explorer’s third voyage. Like Cook, La Pérouse died in the service of his King and in the pursuit of geographical knowledge. Unlike Cook, however, he has not achieved the international recognition accorded the English navigator.... Nevertheless, it is one of the finest narratives of maritime exploration ever written, and certainly deserves to hold a place of high honor among the great travel accounts of the eighteenth century.”
Maps, Charts & Profiles of California and Northwest Coast
Plate 1: Mappe monde ou carte réduite des parties connues du globe pour servir au voyage de La Pérouse fait dans les aneés 1785, 86, 87, et 88... (59.5 x 92.7 cm; 23-1/2 x 36-1/2 inches). Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 837. First printing of this key world map on the Mercator projection centering on the Pacific. Coastal details are emphasized, and the route of La Pérouse’s voyage to Botany Bay is tracked.
Plate 3: Carte du Grand Océan ou Mer du Sud dressée pour la relation du voyage de découvertes... (49.5 x 69.3 cm; 19-5/8 x 27-1/4 inches). Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 838. This map gives good detail on the island groups explored. It includes all of North America, most of South America, and the eastern coast of Asia. Australia is shown, with its southern coast unexplored. Bits of the New Zealand and New Guinea coastlines still remain blank.
Plate 15: Carte des côtes de l’Amérique et de l’Asie depuis la Californie jusqu’à Macao... (50 x 68.5 cm; 19-5/8 x 27 inches). Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 839. Chart showing the coast of America and Asia from California to Macao.
Plate 16: Carte général d’une partie de la côte du nord-ouest de l’Amérique... (67.2 x 49.5 cm; 26-1/2 x 19-3/8 inches). Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 840. Detailed chart of the Northwest from Monterey to Mount St. Elias in Alaska, locating all known harbors and delineating coastal topography, including elevations, rivers, bays, points, and capes.
Plates 17, 29, and 31 (three associated sheets): (Plate 17) Carte Particulière de la côte du nord-ouest de l'Amérique...1e. feuille.. (Plate 29) Carte Particulière de la côte du nord-ouest de l'Amérique...2e. feuille. (Plate 31) Carte Particulière de la côte du nord-ouest de l'Amérique...3e. feuille. Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 841, 844, 845. Three plates each containing three sections, showing the same coastal area as in Plate 16. Each plate measures approximately 49.5 x 67 cm (19-1/2 x 26-1/2 inches). Plate 31 illustrates the Pacific from Monterey Bay almost to the Columbia River.
Plates 18, 30, and 32 (three associated sheets): Vues de la Côte du Nord-Ouest de l’Amérique. 1ere. feuille. (Plate 30) Vues de la Côte du Nord-Ouest de l’Amérique. 2e. feuille. (Plate 32) Vues de la Côte du Nord-Ouest de l’Amérique. 3e. feuille. Three plates each containing several coastal profiles, each plate measures approximately 31.3 x 47.2 cm (12-1/4 x 18-9/16 inches).
Plate 19: Plan du Port des Français... (50 x 69 cm; 19-3/4 x 27-1/4 inches). Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 842. This map illustrates Lituya Bay, on the southern coast of Alaska, the only haven for seafarers facing the open sweep of the Pacific on the passage north from Cross Sound to Yakutat. La Pérouse recommended that France establish its base in Alaska at Port des Français, which he described in his journal as “perhaps the most extraordinary place in the world.” Unfortunately, on July 13, 1786, La Pérouse’s “calm waters” suddenly swallowed up twenty-one of his finest officers and men as they attempted to sound the waters at the entrance to Lituya Bay. None of the bodies were recovered. There are several other plates relating to Port des Français in the atlas.
Plate 26: Plan de l’entrée du Port de Bucarelli... (50 x 69 cm; 19-3/4 x 27-1/4 inches). Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 843. Wagner mentions similarity to Dalrymple’s 1789 map (but with corrections). La Pérouse stated that he acquired the plan in Manila in 1787 (probably from Mourelle, according to Wagner). Bucarelli Bay in southeast Alaska was for a time thought to be the entrance to the Northwest Passage. La Pérouse was among the early European visitors to the area.
Plate 33: Plan du Port de St.François, situé sur la côte de la Californie Septentrionale... (50.2 x 33.5 cm; 19-3/8 x 13-1/8 inches). Early printed map of the port of San Francisco (preceded by various incarnations by Cañizares, Dalrymple, and Vancouver). Harlow, Maps of San Francisco Bay 15. Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 846. Wagner states that this plan of San Francisco Bay was copied from Camacho’s map of 1779 (see Wagner 667).
Plate 34: Plan de la Baie de Monterey... (33.4 x 50.1 cm; 13-1/4 x 19-3/8 inches). Harlow, Maps of the Pueblo Lands of San Diego, p. 10: “On September 15, 1786...La Pérouse anchored in Monterey Bay—among the spouting whales.... He sent home a chart of Monterey Bay, made in part from his own surveys.” Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 847. Early printed plan of Monterey Bay, said by Wagner to have been drawn by some of La Pérouse’s officers.
Plate 35: Plan du Port de St. Diego... [with] Plan du Port et Départment de St. Blas... (48 x 33.6 cm; 18-7/8 x 13-1/4 inches). Two charts on one sheet. Second printed map of San Diego (preceded by Dalrymple’s 1789 printed chart based on Juan Pantoja y Arriaga’s 1782 manuscript map of the port of San Diego; see Wagner 687). Harlow, Maps of the Pueblo Lands of San Diego 9: “When the first president of the Mexican republic came to issue a series of charts of Mexico’s coasts in 1825, that of San Diego was...a virtual copy of the one in the 1797 La Pérouse atlas.” Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 848. See Muriel Strickland’s comments in California 49: Forty-Nine Maps of California from the Sixteenth Century to the Present (19) referring to this French printing. Regarding the other chart on this plate, San Blas (on the coast of Nayarit) was established as a Naval Department by José de Gálvez in 1768 for the specific purpose of supplying the new missions and presidios to be founded in Alta California.
Plate 36: Perdrix, Mâle et Femele, de la Californie (26.5 x 40 cm; 10-1/2 x 15-3/4 inches). Zamorano 80 #49 (Robert J. Woods): “The first picture of the crested quail to be shown in Europe.” This beautiful species, the California Quail (Callipepla californica), was named the official California State Bird in 1931. Its original range stretched from Baja California to a small portion of Western Nevada and the southern counties of Oregon.
Plate 37: Promerops de la Californie Septentrionale (40.7 x 25.4 cm; 16 x 10 inches). This ornithological plate depicts the California thrasher, which is endemic to the coastal and foothill areas of California, extending with the chaparral vegetation into adjacent areas of northwest Baja California. This species was first collected by the La Pérouse expedition, probably at Monterey in 1786.
Plate 67: 2 charts on one double-page sheet: Partie de la Mer du Sud comprise entre les Philippines et la Californie (49.5 x 67.3 cm; 19-1/2 x 26-1/2 inches). The two charts depict the Pacific between California and Manila and show the tracks of the voyages of Anson, the Spanish galleon, and La Pérouse.
The first edition of La Pérouse’s Voyage is one of the great and rare voyages for California history (and many other parts of the world, for that matter). It is also a beautiful specimen of eighteenth-century French printing and bookmaking. (5 vols.) ($20,000-40,000)
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