first edition, 5 volumes of text and 2 atlas volumes, together a complete set of seven volumes, 8vo (224 x 140mm.), folio (470 x 312mm.) and large folio (655 x 490mm.), text volumes: half-titles in each volume, folding engraved map in volume 1, a few illustrations in text, 70 engraved plates in volume 5, of which 61 are hand-coloured, one double-page (plain), volume 5 part 2 with 2 additional text leaves (quire 4 bis) and with supplement at end, folio 'Album historique': 72 hand-coloured aquatint plates, printed on india paper and mounted, by Himely, Rémond and others after Lauvergne, Pâris and others; large folio 'Atlas hydrographique': engraved title, table, general map and 11 charts on 10 mapsheets, some with coastal profiles, 9 double-page, bindings: contemporary calf-backed marbled boards (Atlas hydrographique not matching), spines gilt, map in vol.1 text with minor stain and slight surface adhesion, Atlas hydrographique rebacked, lower joint of text vol.1 splitting
a very rare complete set of laplace's voyage autour du monde, containing hand-coloured plates of exceptional beauty.
"In December 1829, Laplace was commissioned to take an expedition to India, the East Indies and South East Asia, and then, if he chose to do so, proceed through the South Pacific. His instructions were to provide protection for French merchant vessels and obtain at each port-of-call information which might be of value to French trade" (Howgego). Although the expedition was very successful scientifically it marks a shift in emphasis from voyages made for the sake of discovery or exploration in favour of politically motivated undertakings.
The views include Mauritius (4), the Seychelles, Madras (2), Malacca (4), Singapore (2), Manila (6), Canton (3), Australia (3), New Zealand (2), Valparaiso (2), Rio de Janeiro (2) and others.
It is rare to find the work complete. Volume 5, which contains 70 natural history plates, is often lacking as it was not published until 1839 (volume 4 having been published in 1835). Only one complete set appears to have been sold at auction in over 30 years and many of the copies cited by Ferguson were incomplete. It is also widely regarded as one of the most beautiful of all colour plate books (see below).
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