Auction 142, Lot 699

"Geometrical Details of the Monuments of Easter Island", La Perouse, Comte Jean F. Galoup, de

Subject: Easter Island

Period: 1798 (dated)

Publication: Charts and Plates to La Perouse's Voyage

Color: Hand Color

15.3 x 9.4 inches
38.9 x 23.9 cm

Jean-Francois de Galoup, Comte de La Perouse commanded a French scientific expedition to the Pacific in 1785-88. Recognized as one the foremost naval commanders and navigators in France, he was selected by King Louis XVI to complete Captain James Cook's exploration of the western Pacific. The British Admiralty provided scientific equipment to measure variations in magnetic compass readings and with the latest instruments for determining longitude. La Perouse explored the coasts of the Gulf of Alaska and northwestern North America in search of the fabled Northwest Passage. After leaving America his expedition continued on to Asia where he explored from Macao to Kamchatka and the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. La Perouse was meticulous in sending copies of his extensive logs, maps and surveying information via other ships as well as overland. La Perouse's last contact was in the spring of 1788 with a British ship in Botany Bay, Australia. The expedition was never heard from again. Considered one of the greatest French voyages, the French Government decided to publish the story of the expedition when it became clear they had been lost. An English edition was published in London.

This fascinating engraving depicts bird's-eye and cross-section views of several monuments on Easter Island, including a Morai (burying place), a stone hut, and a large hut. Comte Jean Francois Galoup de la Perouse, a French Navy Commander, visited Easter Island in April 1786 when he anchored in Cook's Bay. His visit was brief as there was no wood or water readily available with which to restock. This engraving appeared in the supplementary volume to the English edition of la Perouse's Voyage Round the World, and was published by G.G & J Robinson. Drawn by Bernizet and engraved by Heath.

References: Shirley (BL Atlases) #G.LPR-2a.

Condition: A

Watermarked paper with minor toning along sheet edges.

Estimate: $150 - $200

Sold for: $180

Closed on 11/28/2012