The Pacific from the Arader Galleries
The Pacific from the Arader Galleries.
The Arader Galleries has issued a new catalogue: The Pacific, A Selection of Rare Books. This is primarily a collection of Pacific voyages, dating from the early 16th century until the 19th. Destinations included Australia, East Asia, the west coast of America, and numerous islands, from the large, such as Japan, to the small atolls that dot the Pacific Ocean. Of course, anyone involved in a circumnavigation of the globe would have to spend some time in the Pacific. These brave explorers risked their lives, a gamble they often lost, to provide their European compatriots with knowledge of the unknown world far from home, be it geographical, natural history, scientific, or anthropological. Here are some of these great works that relate to Pacific exploration.
Shortly before the greatest of all Pacific explorers, James Cook, set sail on his journeys, the French Captain Louis Antoine de Bougainville began what would be the first circumnavigation by a Frenchman. Bougainville was assigned the task of turning over the Falkland Islands to Spain, in accordance with diplomatic agreements. Once that job was complete, he headed through the Straits of Magellan and across the Pacific. He stopped at numerous islands, bringing back detailed information about the natural history and peoples he encountered. The popular tropical flowering vine, the bougainvillea, was named for him. His book, published in 1771, two years after he returned, is entitled Voyage autour du monde… Priced at $14,000.
While Bougainville was still at sea, James Cook began the first of his three voyages. The first was intended to observe the transit of Venus, which would help with the difficult task navigators faced in determining longitude. However, his secondary mission would be to learn more about the Pacific lands, particularly Australia and New Zealand. On his second voyage, Cook would travel far south, so far on water as to disprove the widely held belief that there was a massive continent covering the southern part of the globe. Cook's third journey would take him even farther - up the west coast of North America in an unsuccessful attempt to find a northwest passage. Cook would discover Hawaii, an unfortunate discovery as he would lose his life to a misunderstanding with the natives. Offered is a complete set of first editions of the official accounts of Cook's three journeys, eight text volumes and two atlases. $74,000.
The French would be back in the Pacific in the 1780s with another attempt to circle the globe. This time the leader was Jean Francois de la Perouse. La Perouse sailed in 1785, and his explorations were extensive. His stops included California, Alaska, Hawaii, Japan, Russia, and ultimately, Australia. Just as the French had wanted him to investigate what the Spanish were up to in California, they later wanted to know what the British were doing in Australia. He sailed into Botany Bay, enjoyed a cordial visit with the British, and headed west, never to be seen again. It would be 40 years before his wreckage was finally discovered and the mystery solved. Fortunately, La Perouse sent material back to France at several of his stops, allowing for the publication of his account in 1797, Voyage De La Perouse Autour Du Monde… $52,500.
The Pacific from the Arader Galleries
An illustration from Gould's Birds of Australia.
When La Perouse went missing, the French sent out a mission to find their lost hero. In 1791, the call was given to Bruni d'Entrecasteaux to head a search party to Australia to find the missing ships. D'Entrecasteaux circled Australia twice, but found no trace of the missing explorer. Wreckage later found near a reef of an isolated Pacific island explains why La Perouse was not found anywhere near Australia. Nevertheless, d'Entrecasteaux learned much about the geography of Australia and surrounding islands. Still, the mission was doomed to more than just failure in its basic goal. Scurvy struck many of the men, with d'Entrecasteaux succumbing to the disease. Meanwhile, revolution broke out back home, splitting the men on board between officers who favored the monarchy, and ordinary sailors who favored the revolution. With their captain gone, the mission fell apart and the ships were turned over to Dutch authorities in Java. The book is entitled, Voyage de Dentrecasteaux, envoye a la recherche de La Perouse. $29,000.
Here is a beautiful, illustrated book with a spectacular provenance. It is John Gould's The Birds of Australia, published in eight volumes 1851-1869. Gould was well known for his works on European birds when he decided he wanted to try his hand somewhere else. He set off for Australia to create images of birds generally unknown to the outside world. Much of the time he was there, Gould and his wife stayed with the Governor of Tasmania, John Franklin. Not surprisingly, Franklin was one of the subscribers. Offered by the Arader Galleries is John Franklin's copy. It comes with an autographed letter from Franklin's aide-de-camp, Henry Elliot, dated 1877. In it, Elliot explains that he was given the set by Franklin's niece after Franklin's widow died in 1876. Gould acknowledged the assistance of both Franklin and Elliot in the book's preface. Admiral Franklin is remembered more for what he did before and after his time in Australia. He was an Arctic explorer, leading three expeditions prior to his governorship, and one two years later, in 1845. This was an attempt to find a northwest passage, unsuccessful like so many others. Unfortunately, Franklin's ships became icebound and none of the men were able to make it to rescue. All succumbed to starvation and cold. However, many missions were sent to find him, including state rescue attempts and those funded by Franklin's wife. Much information about the Arctic regions was learned through missions attempting to find Franklin. $1,200,000.
The Arader Galleries has locations in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston and Denver. Questions concerning this catalogue may be addressed to Kate Hunter in New York at 212-628-3668 or firstname.lastname@example.org.