HISTORIC DRAWING OF MAURITIUS FROM THE FREYCINET EXPEDITION
ink and grey wash drawing, signed, showing the Place D'Armes and Government House at the begining of the British Colonisation, 7½ x 10½ ins.
After the Dutch had abandoned Mauritius, the French colonised the island for over 100 years. In 1810 the British took to the colony over to secure the Passage to India for the Honourable East India Company. Jacques Etienne Victor Arago, (6 March 1790 – 27 November 1855) the French writer, artist and explorer, author of a Voyage Autour du Monde. He was born in Estagel, Pyrénées-Orientales. He was the brother of François Arago (1786–1853), a scientist and politician, the most famous of the four Arago brothers. His two other brothers were Jean Arago (1788–1836), a general in the Mexican army; and Étienne Arago (1802–1892), a writer and politician. Jacques Arago volunteered and was appointed Chief Draughtsman to the Freycinet Scientific Expedition in the Corvette l'Uranie in 1817, on a salary of 600 francs a year about which he often complained. The main preoccupation's of the voyage were the measurement of the globe's southern hemisphere, the observation of magnetic and meteorological phenomena, and experiments related to air pressure and the temperature of the sea at various depths. They arrived in Mauritius on May 7th. 1818 and remained there until July 16th.
In those few months while the ship was being careened, Arago spent his time sketching and socialising. This historic drawing shows the harbour, the Place d'Armes, the Government Building built by Labourdonnais in 1738, the upper storeys were added in 1771, and the rest of the city in the early years of British rule. In the background, La Pouce and the Pieter Bot.
Stock ref: 7706