One of the earliest maps of the new English settlement of Sydney Town. A handsomely-presented example of this early French map of Sydney, from the published account of the Baudin expedition of 1800-3. This version comes from the atlas to the second edition of 1824. It contains significantly more detail than the version found in the first edition of 1811, and is a more attractive presentation overall.
It contains significantly more detail than the version found in the first edition of 1811, and is a more attractive presentation overall. In 'Framing New Holland or framing a narrative? A representation of Sydney according to Charles-Alexandre Lesueur' (Framing French Culture, 2015), Jean Fornasiero traces the development of this image, a hybrid produced from charts by the expedition's hydrographer, Charles Boullanger, and Lesueur's more impressionistic watercolour (he was, after all, the expedition's artist, and better known for his views and natural history plates).
Full Title: Plan de la Ville de Sydney, Capitale des Colonies Anglaises aux Terres Australes. Levé par Mr Lesueur et assujetti aux relevemens de Mr Boullanger, 9bre [Novembre] 1802
The engraving is based on drawings made in Sydney in 1802 by Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, artist on Nicolas Baudin’s expedition. Having participated in two scientific expeditions during the 1790s, Baudin was commissioned by the French government in 1800 to survey the Australian coast. The voyage, endorsed by Napoleon, was also tasked with studying natural history and making detailed scientific observations of Indigenous people. Consequently, Baudin’s vessels, Le Géographe and Le Naturaliste, were lavishly equipped, with twenty-two scientists among the expedition’s company. Petit and another artist, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, embarked as gunner’s mates, but were elevated to official artist roles when the men initially appointed to those posts quit six months into the expedition. Lesueur focussed on the recording of landscape and species, while the depiction of the people fell largely to Petit, a Paris-born draughtsman who’d had some training in the studio of Jacques-Louis David. After surveying the western and southern coats of the continent throughout the latter half of 1801, in early 1802 Baudin’s ships called at the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Bruny Island and Maria Island in Tasmania, where Petit made several portraits which have subsequently come to be considered important records of Indigenous life in the period prior to permanent European colonisation. From June to November 1802, the expedition was delayed in Sydney while the two vessels were repaired, providing the opportunity for Petit to complete portraits of people of the Cadigal, Dharawal, Gweagal, Kurringai and Darug language groups of the Sydney region.
An interesting documentary about Baudin’s expedition can be found on youtube in the following link VIEW DOCUMENTARY