A Voyage to Terra Australis, undertaken for the Purpose of completing the Discovery of that Vast Continent, and prosecuted in the years 1801, 1802, and 1803, in His Majesty's Ship the 'Investigator', and subsequently in the Armed Vessel 'Porpoise' and 'Cumberland' Schooner. With an Account of the Shipwreck of the 'Porpoise', Arrival of the 'Cumberland' at Mauritius, and Imprisonment of the Commander during six years and a half in that Island. Matthew FLINDERS.

A Voyage to Terra Australis, undertaken for the Purpose of completing the Discovery of that Vast Continent, and prosecuted in the years 1801, 1802, and 1803, in His Majesty's Ship the 'Investigator', and subsequently in the Armed Vessel 'Porpoise' and 'Cumberland' Schooner. With an Account of the Shipwreck of the 'Porpoise', Arrival of the 'Cumberland' at Mauritius, and Imprisonment of the Commander during six years and a half in that Island

London, G. and W. Nicol, 1814.

Large quarto, two volumes (the text volumes, from the large-paper edition), and elephant folio (the atlas), [iv], x, [x], cciv, 269 pages (Volume 1); and [iv], 613 pages (Volume 2), with a total of 17 tables plus 9 steel-engraved views after William Westall; the atlas contains 9 double-page and 7 full-page charts, 2 double plates of coastal views and 10 botanical plates after Ferdinand Bauer. The double-page charts are folded down the centre where stub-mounted; all other charts and plates are unfolded. All charts are the original Nicol issue, with imprint dates ranging from 1 January to 1 June 1814.

The two text volumes are bound in antique-style full speckled calf; apart from occasional offsetting from, and foxing to or near the plates, they are in excellent condition. Although these text volumes are the large paper edition, the appendix to the first volume (pages 253-269) appears to have been supplied from a smaller copy, with each leaf now expertly mounted within a 'frame' of plain paper trimmed to the size of the rest of the text. The atlas has been reinserted in contemporary half calf and marbled boards, with contrasting title-labels on the spine; the endpapers have a few imperfections (mainly near the gutters); the double-page maps are offset, generally mildly; four maps and one plate have a tiny tear to the bottom margin expertly sealed; two single-sheet maps (numbers 12 and 16) had originally been bound in upside down, and now have residual traces of glue along the leading edge and some small needle holes in the leading margin; one map and one pair of coastal views foxed or mottled; these are all trifling blemishes that do not detract from the overall excellent condition of this important atlas, in remarkably fresh condition and in its most desirable form, with the charts unfolded and all in the original issue of 1814.

The text volumes are in the very rare large-paper issue (only 150 sets were printed). Australia's greatest travel book: as well as recounting his epic circumnavigation of the continent, which finally established that it was a single landmass, Flinders provides a long introductory survey of earlier voyages in Australian waters, including Bligh's second voyage, in 1791, on which he served as a midshipman; his own expeditions to Bass Strait and Western Port with Bass, in 1795-97; and his 1803 voyages in the 'Porpoise', shipwrecked on the Barrier Reef, and the 'Cumberland'. His meticulous charts remained in use for the rest of the century.

Provenance: each text volume retained on the new pastedown when rebound the early printed label indicating that 'This Book was presented to the United Service Institution by Miss Flinders', with the donor's name added in manuscript. An inkstamp indicates the books were later disposed of by the Royal United Service Institution. The institution was established as the USI in 1831, and the name was changed to RUSI in 1860. Matthew Flinders and his wife Ann had one child, Anne (1812-1892), who married William Petrie in 1851. This would suggest the books were donated by her before her marriage - any time between 1831 and 1851 - and were deaccessed some time after 1860. The provenance of the atlas is no less interesting: the bookplate of John, Duke of Bedford, is mounted on the pastedown. John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford (1766-1839), a British Whig politician, was the father of Prime Minister John Russell, 1st Earl Russell. [3 items].

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