# 41476

SAINSON, Louis-Auguste de (1800-1874)

[DUMONT D’URVILLE] Louis-Auguste de Sainson, artist on the Astrolabe expedition : autograph letter signed, dated August 1831.

$1,200.00 AUD

  • Ask a question

Manuscript in ink written on 2 sides of a quarto bifolium, 240 x 185 mm; dated at Paris, 18 August 1831, and signed at the foot ‘De Sainson, painter du voyage de l’Astrolabe, rue St. André des arts 55’, the letter is addressed to ‘monsieur le Baron’; de Sainson writes to ensure that a promise obtained from King Louis-Philippe in favour of his father, geographical engineer Louis-Pierre de Sainson (1764-1845), is honoured; the letter is extremely well preserved.

‘Au mois de juin dernier, le Roi ayant daigné m’accorder une audience, je lui remis une demande par laquelle mon père, chef de bataillon commandant de place, sur le point de solliciter sa retraite, suppliait Sa Majesté de lui accorder un emploi dans l’une de ses possessions Royales sans aucun traitement sur la liste civile ; sa retraite et ses moyens personnels suffisant à son existence. Il demandait seulement à utiliser pour le service du Roi la vigueur & la santé qu’il a eu le bonheur de conserver […]. Il a été vingt-cinq ans ingénieur géographe et autant d’années officier d’état major, tout son désir est d’employer utilement le tems que sa retraite va lui laisser. Les considérations de fortune n’y entrent pour rien […]’.

Last June, the King having deigned to grant me an audience, I passed on to him a request from my father, a battalion commander who was about to register his retirement, in which he begged His Majesty to grant him a job in one of his Royal possessions without being placed on the civil list, his retirement and his personal means being sufficient for him to support himself independently. He asked that the vigour and good health he had been fortunate enough to preserve be put to good use in the service of King […]. He was a geographical engineer for twenty-five years, and a staff officer for the same length time; his only desire is to make practical use of the time that his retirement will now afford him. His intentions have nothing to do with fortune seeking […]‘.

French watercolour artist and draughtsman Louis-Auguste de Sainson was born in Paris in 1800. He commenced his naval career in 1825, and in February the following year he joined Dumont d’Urville’s expedition to the South Seas as the official voyage artist on board the corvette Astrolabe, on a monthly salary of 100 francs. He had been recommended to Dumont d’Urville for the position by Quoy, one of the expedition naturalists. During the three-year circumnavigation of the Astrolabe de Sainson was prodigious in his output, producing almost 500 drawings in total. From these works, selections were made for the Atlas volumes which were published in 1833 as part of the official expedition account, Voyage de la corvette l’Astrolabe exécuté pendant les années 1826, 1827, 1828, 1829, sous le commandement de M. J. Dumont D’Urville.

Although one of the aims of the expedition was to find the remains of La Pérouse (or, at least, firm evidence of the fate of the navigator and his crew, last sighted leaving Botany Bay in March 1788), its broader objectives were the carrying out of scientific research and exploration in the Pacific, including the charting of the coasts of New Zealand and New Guinea. The Astrolabe visited the western, southern and eastern coasts of New Holland, the upper South Island and east coast of New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and the chain of islands to its east (later known as the Bismarck Archipelago).