30 April 2008
WHITE, John (c. 1756-1832). Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales. London: J. Debrett, 1790.
4° (293 x 225mm). Engraved title with vignette of Port Jackson and 65 hand-coloured engraved plates on paper with J.W. Whatman watermark. Plate list in the third state, Hh4 a cancel, as usual. (Slight marginal soiling and spotting.) Contemporary diced russia, marbled endpapers, yellow edges (rebacked, preserving old spine label).
FINE HAND-COLOURED COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION. 'Dr. White produced an extremely interesting account of the voyage of the First Fleet and of early life in New South Wales', comments Hill, 'containing many circumstances omitted by Governor Arthur Phillip ... and other contemporary authors'. White's position as chief surgeon led him to take a strong interest in the natural history of the new colony. This is the subject of a long appendix, and as the title proudly states the book's sixty-five plates are devoted to 'non descript animals, birds, lizards, serpents, curious cones of trees and other natural productions'. Some engravings are thought to be after drawings made by Thomas Watling, a convict; though none are signed by him. Others, including the much admired birds drawn by Sarah Stone, were based on specimens sent to England. Abbey Travel 605: 'engraving and colouring of a very high standard'; Anker 527; Ferguson 97; Hill 1858; Nissen ZBI 4390; Wantrup 17; Zimmer 672.
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