The Art of Science: Baudin’s Voyagers 1800-1804

from 30/06/2016 to 09/12/2018
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The Art of Science: Baudin’s Voyagers 1800-1804

On 19 October 1800, two ships Le Naturaliste and Le Géographe left Le Havre (in France) for Australia. Initiated by Captain Nicolas Baudin, and supported by Consul Napoleon Bonaparte, the assignment was the geographical reconnaissance of the Australian coasts, the inventory of species, and a description of the populations. After the three official painters abandoned the expedition, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur (1778-1864), and Nicolas-Martin Petit (1777-1804) who had originally joined the expedition as assistant gunsmen and draughtsmen to the Captain’s log, were appointed as the official expedition draughtsmen, supervised by doctor-naturalist François Péron (1775-1810). Most of their drawings and manuscripts are now in the collection of the Natural History Museum of Le Havre (France). The expedition also brought back over 200,000 plant specimens and even animals many of which the Empress Josephine managed to obtain for her collection. 

The drawings made by Petit and Lesueur provide a fascinating snapshot of the Australian continent’s flora, fauna, peoples and landscape of 200 years ago.

This major exhibition consisting principally of 400 drawings and 7 manuscripts lent by the Natural History Museum of the Havre as well as pieces from three Paris museums – the Musée de la Marine, the French Archives Nationales, and the Musée de l’Armée – will tour several cities in Australia from June 2016 to December 2018.

Read more about the exhibition in this article by Luke Slattery.

Art, science and discovery’ an article by curator Cheryl Crilly, Curator, Australian Society and History, National Museum of Australia, extract from The Museum magazine, issue 13, 2018.

The list of objects exhibited can be found here.


Venue: South Australian Maritime Museum, 126 Lipson Street, Port Adelaide, SA, 5015
Duration: 30 June to 11 December 2016 Opening hours, prices and access

Venue: Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, 2 Wellington Street, Launceston, TAS, 7250
Duration: 7 January to 20 March 2017 Opening hours, prices and access

Venue: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Dunn Place, Hobart, TAS, 7000
Duration: 7 April to 9 July 2017

Venue: Australian National Maritime Museum, 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour, Sydney, NSW, 2000
Duration: 31 August to 26 November 2017

Venue: National Museum of Australia, Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula, Canberra, ACT, 2601
Duration: 30 March to 24 June 2018

Venue: Western Australian Museum, Perth Cultural Centre, James Street, Perth, WA, 6000
Duration 13 September to 9 December 2018

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