Embossed blind stamp “Gide Editeur Paris” denoting that is from the original edition of “Voyage au Pole Sud”.
Louis Le Breton (1818-1866)
Breton was French marine artist and was the official artist on board the voyage of exploration under the command of Dumont D’Urville.
From 1847 he devoted himself mainly to depicting marine subjects for the French Navy.
The expedition left on two corvettes, the Astrolabe, under the command of Dumont d’Urville who had already sailed around the world on the Zelee.
The ships reached Port Famine at the end of 1838 and after a few days rest, headed further south on January 8th. They sighted their first ice floe the following day and a few days later at 59° 30’S ‘an immense block in the form of a triangular prism’ could be seen, glistening when the fog lifted. Dumont d’Urville’s instructions were to follow Weddell’s route and see how far beyond the Englishman’s final latitude they could penetrate. His crew had been promised a bonus of 100 francs each if they reached 75°S and a further 20 francs for every degree further south. The ships reached 65° where they were confronted by an impenetrable ice floe. ‘To the limits of the horizon on both east and west, spread an immense plain of blocks of ice…’. D’Urville at this point was forced to turn back and on March 7 the two ships left the South Shetlands.
After exploring the southern regions Dumont D’Urville the ships sailed to the Pacific visiting many of the islands, Singapore, Batavia, and reached Hobart at the end of 1839.
After a short period of rest in Hobart the ships headed south again on January 1, 1840, this time reaching about 64°S and found themselves suddenly surrounded by icebergs. On January 19, land was sighted, it was completely covered with snow so high it was impossible to see the summit. D’Urville named the coast, Terre Adelie after his wife. The expedition had established the approximate position of the magnetic pole and d’Urville felt that their task had been accomplished and left Antarctica and headed for New Zealand.
The maps and views were published in the official accounts of the voyage and are the finest ever produced of Antarctica and intended to reflect France’s rightful place on the international stage.
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