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The Art of Science

Nicolas Baudin's voyagers 1800-1804

Jean Fornasiero, Lindl Lawton, John West-Sooby

The Art of Science
It was one of the most lavishly equipped scientific expeditions ever to leave Europe. At the dawn of the nineteenth century, French navigator Nicolas Baudin led two ships carrying 22 scientists and more than 230 officers and crew on a three-and-a-half-year voyage to the 'Southern Lands', charting coasts, studying the natural environment and recording encounters with indigenous peoples.

Inspired by the Enlightenment's hunger for knowledge, Baudin's expedition collected well in excess of 100,000 specimens, produced more than 1500 drawings and published the first complete chart of Australia.

Baudin's artists, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur and Nicolas-Martin Petit, painted a series of remarkable portraits of Aboriginal people and produced some of the earliest European views of Australian fauna. An integral part of the French scientific project, these exquisite artworks reveal the sense of wonder this strange new world inspired.

This book has been published to coincide with the touring exhibition The Art of Science: Baudin's Voyagers 1800-1804, which showcases more than 350 works from the Lesueur Collection held by the Museum of Natural History in Le Havre, Normandy, France.

Praise for The Art of Science
'Vibrant insights into transimperial links with Indigenous and settler Australia from narrative and scientific perspectives.' - Julie McIntyre, Journal of Australian Colonial History

'Of the many drawings produced over the course of the voyage, some of the most exquisite are included in this book, with stand-outs including portraits of tiger quolls, the jellyfish Rhizostoma octopus, and what many would now consider the fairly unimpressive noisy miner. The purchase of this title can be justified simply by such artwork, but the discussions of the just-as-interesting scientific and political intrigues of the time make this book even more fascinating.' - Rachel Fetherston, Andrew Isles Natural History Books

'My advice to readers would be to read the book to get a better understanding of the background to Nicolas Baudinís expeditions and the processes involved in recording the people, plants, animals and geography they encountered. Then visit the exhibition and read the book again when you get home. Iím sure it will inspire you to make a second expedition yourself, to look closer at some of the 350 works on display. Rating out of 10: 10' - Jan Kershaw, Glam Adelaide

'This magnificently produced and profusely illustrated volume presents a comprehensive overview of the scientific achievements of the voyagers led by Nicolas Baudin ... This book is an absolute delight and will enchant readers for many years to come - it is a fitting memorial to the contributions of many lesser known people who made great efforts in understanding a very different world in the antipodes. The editors, authors and publisher are to be congratulated on producing such an outstanding work.' - Colin V. Murray-Wallace, The Globe

'The images have many facets, shifting as we look at them. In one glance they might appear intensely romantic, or extraordinarily realistic, while simultaneously encoding scientific information about form and shape. The intermingling of science and art in the zoological images is likewise breathtaking Ė best appreciated with a magnifying glass.' - Danielle Clode, Historical Records of Australian Science

'A very beautiful and instructive way to get in touch with the historical and scientific significance of the Baudin expedition and the aesthetic qualities of art in the service of science.' - Julia Bottcher, Metascience

Jean Fornasiero is Emeritus Professor of French Studies at the University of Adelaide and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Lindl Lawton is Senior Curator at the South Australian Maritime Museum.

John West-Sooby is Professor of French Studies at the University of Adelaide.

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Category History
Format Paperback
Size 265 x 218 mm
ISBN 9781743054277
Extent 176 pages
Price: AU$39.95 including GST
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