Three artists were officially appointed to the Baudin expedition by the French government: the landscape artist Jacques Milbert and the draughtsman Louis Lebrun, who sailed on the Géographe, and the genre artist Michel Garnier, who sailed on the Naturaliste. The outward journey proved too much for these artists, who abandoned the expedition at the Ile de France (Mauritius), before it had properly begun.
Responsibility for compiling the pictorial record of the voyage and its collections thus fell to the two young artists Baudin had engaged to illustrate his personal log, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur and Nicolas-Martin Petit.
Some of these drawings are kept in the National Museum of Natural History in Paris (http://www.mnhn.fr/), but the vast majority are held by the Museum of Natural History in Le Havre and form the centre-piece of the Lesueur Collection. Digitised images of these drawings will progressively be uploaded onto the Museum’s web site at the following link:
A sample of these illustrations is provided here. They come from slides made by the celebrated photographer Axel Poignant, who went to Le Havre for this purpose in the early 1960s at the request of Phyllis Mander-Jones, a liaison officer with the Mitchell Library. They are reproduced here with the kind permission of the Mitchell Library and the Muséum d’histoire naturelle du Havre.
Comments or suggestions regarding the illustrations are welcome. They should be addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org