NEW SOUTH WALES
Plan of the town of Sydney, by Charles-Alexandre Lesueur and Charles-Pierre Boullanger, autograph manuscript on paper, ink, pencil and watercolour, grid in pencil, buildings denoted in red, border ruled in ink, 16 5/8 x 22in. (42.1 x 56cm.), Sydney, July-November 1802
THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT PLAN OF THE TOWN OF SYDNEY EXECUTED BY LESUEUR AND BOULLANGER ON THE ORDERS OF BAUDIN. The manuscript annotation in red ink by Freycinet in the right-hand margin of the plan 'Batterie de 3 canones Observatoire' (showing the gun emplacements at Bennelong Point), provides a fascinating indication of the keen interest shown by the French in the strategic importance and fortification of the settlement.
This plan is closely related to another plan of the town of Sydney in the Lesueur collection at the Museé d'Histoire Naturelle at Le Havre: cat no 16074.1, reproduced in Bonnemains (Jacqueline), Forsyth (Elliot) and Smith (Bernard), eds., Baudin in Australian Waters. The Artwork of the French Voyages of Discovery to the Southern Lands 1800-1804, Melbourne, 1988, p.105. But it differs in certain respects. The plan at Le Havre lacks the details of the surrounding countryside (e.g. the village of Brickfield) delineated in the plan offered for sale and corrections have been made to numerous details including, for example, the house built by Commissary John Palmer (one of the colony's first permanent residences) with its formal planting which does not appear on the map at Le Havre.
It was not until November 1802 that Lesueur was given the assistance of Lieutenant Boullanger who had some knowledge of surveying. The engraved view of Sydney which is derived from their drawing is inscribed 'Plan de la Ville de Sydney Capitale, des Colonies Anglaises, aus-terre Australies. Levé par Mr Lesueur, et assujetti aux relevemens de Mr Boullanger. 9bre. 1802' and form plate II of Péron, Voyages de Découvertes aux terres australes... Paris, 1807.
This (and the associated drawing at Le Havre) are among the earliest surviving manuscript plans of the town of Sydney to have been carried out from direct observation.