The Art of Science

Baudin's Voyagers 1800-1804

See exquisite illustrations by French artists made during Nicolas Baudin’s exploration of Australia.

See exquisite illustrations by French artists made during Nicolas Baudin’s exploration of Australia.

  • In Australia for the First Time in 200 Years

    The Art of Science: Baudin’s Voyagers 1800 -1804 brings over 340 of the original paintings and drawings from the Museum of Natural History in Le Havre, France to Australian audiences for the first time, with a different suite of paintings showcased at each touring venue.

    The exhibition also showcases material from other French institutions, much of which has never before been displayed in Australia. These include Baudin’s chronometer, exquisite coastal profiles, hand drawn maps, and Baudin’s personal journal from France’s National Archives.

    An Expedition From the Height of Napoleonic Tensions

    Baudin’s ships, Géographe and Naturaliste embarked from Le Havre in October 1800 for the Southern continent carrying an impressive contingent of scientists and scientific assistants. Lavishly funded by Napoleon Bonaparte, the expedition’s agenda was the discovery and study of natural sciences, underpinned by the emergence of new ideas and philosophies of reason.

    The exhibition showcases original sketches and paintings created by Baudin’s artists Charles Alexandre Lesueur and Nicolas-Martin Petit during the voyage of 1800-1804. Lesueur and Petit created their paintings and drawings on the shores and off the coasts of Australia and captured some of the first European views of Australian animals, landscapes and very first portraits of Aboriginal people.

    See Australia From A French Perspective 

    The museum would like to advise visitors that this exhibition may contain the names and images of deceased Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.

    Image: Poisson Diodon (porcupine fish), Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, watercolour and ink on paper. Museum d'histoire naturelle, Le Havre.

    Exhibition travelling dates

    South Australian Maritime Museum: 30 June – 11 December 2016

    Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston: 7 January – 20 March 2017

    Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart: 7 April – 9 July 2017

    Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney: 31 August – 26 November 2017

    National Museum of Australia, Canberra: 15 March  11 June 2018

    Western Australian Museum, Perth: 12 September – 12 December 2018


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    Exhibition Partners

    Museum d’historie Naturelle Le Havre



    Gordon Darling Foundation

    National Collecting Institutions Touring & Outreach Program logo

    Supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians.

    Supported by the Australian Government International Exhibitions Insurance (AGIEI) Program. This program provides funding for the purchase of insurance for significant cultural exhibitions. Without AGIEI, the high cost of insuring significant cultural items would prohibit this major exhibition from touring to Australia.

    Exhibition developed and presented by: South Australian Maritime Museum, Australian National Maritime Museum, National Museum of Australia, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Western Australian Museum, with the generous cooperation of the Museum d’histoire naturelle du Havre

    <em>Porcupine fish-Diodon</em> by Charles-Alexandre Lesueur (detail). Courtesy Museum d'histoire naturelle, Le Havre. <em>'Hop Step and Jump'</em>, the English character John Bull demonstrates how to deal with Napoleon's ambitions. Engraving by Piercy Roberts, 1804. ANMM Collection. <em>'The King of Brobdingnag and Gulliver'</em>, wherein Napoleon's threatened invasion of England is likened to an episode from Swift's Gulliver's Travels. Engraving by James Gillray, 1804. ANMM Collection. New Holland – Plan of Sydney Town by Charles-Alexandre Lesueur. Courtesy Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Le havre. A man and woman in a bark canoe by Nicolas-Martin Petit. Courtesy Museum d'histoire naturelle, Le Havre.Two men making fire by Nicolas-Martin Petit. Courtesy Museum d'histoire naturelle, Le Havre.<em>Cape Petrel (Daption capense)</em> by Charles-Alexandre Lesueur. Courtesy Museum d'histoire naturelle, Le Havre.