Arras, Capitale d’Artois.

Fabulous C18th engraving of the ancient French town of Arras, located in Northern France at the confluence of the Scarpe river and the Crinchon River. The scene is with an elaborate engraved framed border design.

During World War I, the Battle of Arras, also known as the ‘Arras Offensive’, was fought from 9 April to 17 May 1917. The Allied plan for 1917 was for a major French offensive on the Western Front on the Aisne river, 120km south-east of Arras, to begin in mid April. The British agreed to launch an attack at Arras a week earlier to draw German reserves away from the French attack. The Battle of Arras began on an 18km front from Vimy ridge in the north to Neuville-Vitasse in the south. When it ended on 17 May, the British had advanced up to 10km eastwards. The offensive was hailed as a success, although the larger French offensive was a failure. Twice during the Battle of Arras, Australians attacked near the town of Bullecourt, on the southern flank of the main advance and 12km south-east of the city of Arras.



First map of Australia from Nicholas Vallard’s atlas, 1547, in the Library of Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart. at Middle Hill, 1856.

This beautiful map of Jave la Grande, published in 1856, is based on a chart by Nicholas Vallard from his 1547 manuscript atlas produced in Dieppe, France between 1540 and 1570.

This map was made to promote the dispersal of Sir Thomas Phillipp’s enormous collection which contained the Vallard atlas. The collection took many years to disperse and the atlas was ultimately acquired in the 1920s by the legendary collector Henry E. Huntington, now in the library named after him. The landmass is decorated with an elaborate scene of an Asiatic village surrounded by trees bearing tropical fruit and vegetation. In the background, several warring tribes and a rocky, mountainous landscape can be seen, while on the side panels are four mythological scenes. The sea is richly decorated with several imaginary sea monsters, a compass rose and a galleon in full sail. The map is orientated with north to the bottom and when rotated 180 degrees, the charting closely resembles the east coast of Australia from Cape York Peninsula, south to Wilson’s Promontory and west to the South Australian gulfs and Kangaroo Island. When published it was labelled the First Map of Australia &, an assertion that at the time, caused great controversy since it challenged James Cook’s previous recognition as being the first European to discover the east coast of Australia. The controversy over the Dieppe maps has polarised cartographic scholars and historians due to speculation that these maps depict parts of the Australian continent decades prior to the first recorded discovery by the Dutch in 1606. The inclusion of various Portuguese place names on the large landmass named Jave la Grande have led to theories that the Portuguese were the first to discover Australia. The Portuguese presence in Timor and various points of archaeological and anecdotal evidence have been used to support this underlying case. The assertion that the Jave la Grande landmass depicted in this and several other Dieppe maps is Australia, was first proposed by Alexander Dalrymple of the Royal Society in 1786, and was later advanced by several others during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including R.H. Major (1859), George Collingridge (1895), Kenneth McIntyre (1977), Roger Herve (1983), Helen Wallis (1980s) and Lawrence Fitzgerald (1984). More recent scholarship by Fitzgerald and Peter Trickett has theorised that this map could have been based on multiple Portuguese navigational charts which were then misaligned by the mapmakers at Dieppe. If the theory is correct, a large bay named ‘Baie Neue’ could well refer to Cook’s Botany Bay.


Reinhartz pp.70-71, 74,136, ill.pp.70-71,137

Schilder pp.21-22, Suarez (A) ill. fig.3, p.13.

Asia Divisa nelle sue Parti secondo lo stato presente Descritta, e Dedicata…

Vincenzo Coronelli’s impressive map of Asia on two separate sheets (size is for each sheet) which was very advanced for its day. It included geographical information sourced from the Jesuits who had an extensive network of missions in Asia. A panel on the left of the map includes a note acknowledging the geographical activities of the Jesuits and the title cartouche includes a dedication to Thyrsus Gonzalez de Santalla, the thirteenth Superior-General of the Society of Jesus. Coronelli himself was a Franciscan priest and widely recognised as one of the greatest cartographers and globemakers of the seventeenth century, most famous for having constructed a pair of the world’s largest globes for King Louis XIV, measuring over 4.5 metres in diameter and weighing approximately two tonnes, the globes were large enough to hold up to thirty people inside.

Text on the map notes several points of interest including ”Tera di Concordia was discovered in the year 1618′‘, referring to the discoveries made by Hartog in the Eendracht in 1616, not 1618. Jacobsz’s voyage is noteworthy for the fact that on board the Mauritius was Anthony van Diemen and Willem Jansz, former master of the Duyfken, on his second voyage to Australia. Another note states: ”…they believe that the newly discovered land is M. Polo’s the country of Lochac…’. Although these comments perpetuate the age-old errors from the scribed accounts of Marco Polo, the map does accurately record other Dutch discoveries in Australia including those of Houtman in the Dordrecht and the Amsterdam 1619, the van Leeuwin 1622, Carstensz in the Leijden 1623, Nuyts in the Gulden Zeepaert 1627, de Wit in the Vianen 1628 and the two voyages of Abel Tasman on the Heemskerck and Zeehaen 1642-3 and 1644. New Zealand is shown according to Tasman’s discovery in 1642 but Coronelli incorrectly states that it was discovered in 1654.

From Coronelli’s thirteen-volume atlas Atlante Veneto .

References: Clancy p.89, ill.6.20 (right sheet only), Quirino p.114, Sweet 73, Tooley 351,


A Survey of the Coast on the East Side of St. Vincents Gulf made by Colonel Light Surveyor General.

Rare and important map of the South Australian coast, extending from present day North Haven to Rapid Bay, dated 26th January, 1838 by Colonel William Light.

Light had arrived off Kangaroo Island on 17 August 1836 and found the settlement established in July 1836 by the South Australian Company. The settlers had found the area to have poor soil quality which made it unsuitable for farming. Light as Surveyor-General of South Australia, was instructed to scout and survey various sites in preparation for the capital. The surveyed sites of; Nepean Bay, Kangaroo Island, Encounter Bay and Port Lincoln, were rejected due to a lack of fresh water supply and poor soil quality.

On 7 September the Light in the Rapid anchored at a bay on the eastern side of St. Vincent’s Gulf and which Light named Rapid Bay. He wrote in his diary at Yankylilly Bay; ‘I never saw a more beautiful little Valley than this..‘ 

He continued north and soon sighted from the top of the mast a river entering a bay (Holdfast Bay) but did not examine it. Further north he found the coast to be swampy and covered with mangroves and thought a port for the capital would not be found on this coast. He returned to Holdfast Bay on 3 October and erected a flagstaff on the highest sand dune and used it as a bearing marker in relation to Mt. Lofty. On the 5th October he notes, “Having much to do in observing several bearings from the ship, for the purpose of constructing my ‘hasty chart’ of this side of the gulf….” He proceeded to examined the bay and surrounding country travelling upriver by boat towards Mount Lofty, Light’s ‘joy was great’ when he eventually found two fathoms of fresh water in a creek. He returned to search the coast for the entrance to ‘Jones Harbour’ (Port Adelaide) that Captain Barker had previously reported in 1831 as a good anchorage, without success. Light again returned to Rapid Bay and was joined by the Cygnet which he sent on 5 November to Holdfast Bay under deputy surveyor George Kingston with the advanced survey party before proceeding to Port Lincoln to assess it’s suitability for the capital. 

He decided against Rapid Bay after surveying the Adelaide plains. He announced that the site of the new capital would be Adelaide on 29 December 1836 and drew up a plan for the town. The choice was controversial, particularly with the then Governor of the colony, Sir John Hindmarsh, who wanted the town to be placed on the coast.

The Colonisation Commission had set Light an impossible task, He was expected to select the best site for the capital from 1,500 miles of coast line, survey the town, divide 150 square miles of country blocks, as well as select sites for secondary towns, all within two months of his arrival there.

Cliffs, distant 5 or 6 miles: taken Jan.26.1802 at five p.m.

Rare coastal profile of the Great Australian Bight, by William Westall, artist on board Matthew Flinders seminal survey of the Australia on the Investigator.Flinders, January 26, 1802.

Flinders Jan. 26, 1802:
Our course from noon was nearly east at the distance of five or six miles from the shore and we ran at the rate of between seven and eight knots, under double-reefed top-sails and foresail. Abreast of our situation at half-past two the level bank again closed in upon the shore, and formed cliffs very similar to those along which we had before run thirty leagues. Their elevation appeared to be from four to six hundred feet, the upper part was brown, and the lower two thirds white but as we advanced, the upper brown stratum was observed to augment in proportional quantity. We could not distinguish, as before, the smaller layers in the two strata and from the number of excavations in the white part, apparently from pieces having fallen down, I was led to think the lower portion of these cliffs to be grit stone rather than calcareous rock. The bank was not covered with shrubs, as before it came to the water side, but was nearly destitute of vegetation, and almost as level as the horizon of the sea.

From of Flinders hydrographic atlas, A voyage to Terra Australis…, sheet XVII, London : G. and W. Nicol, 1814.

Full title of the atlas;A Voyage to Terra Australis, undertaken for the purpose of completing the discovery of that vast country, and prosecuted in the years 1801, 1802, and 1803, in His Majesty’s Ship The Investigator and subsequently in the armed vessel Porpoise and Cumberland schooner. 

View in the Island of Tanna.

Rare engraving of Cook at Tana between 6 – 20 August 1774, with a party going inland to the island on 10 August.

‘This day Mr. Wales, and two of three of the officers, advanced a little, for the first time, into the island. They met with a small straggling village, the inhabitants of which treated them with great civility’. Cooks Journal II, p.60-61.

References; Beddie 1381-29, p.267. Joppien 2.132A, ill.p.232

From Cook’s, A Voyage Towards the South Pole, and Round the World, performed in His Majesty’s Ships the ‘Resolution’ and ‘Adventure’, In the Years 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775.

National Library Australia: Bib ID 2879753

The War in New Zealand: The 57th Regiment Taking a Maori Redoubt on the Katikara River, Taranaki.

On June 1863 colonial forces attacked Maori fortifications near the Katikara River. The engraving depicts the forces charge, before ultimately taking the redoubt.

Early in June General Cameron moved out against the southern tribes who were resisting the Government’s title to the Tataraimaka Block. At St. George’s Redoubt, the post which he had established at Tataraimaka, he concentrated a considerable force. The Taranaki, Ngati-Ruanui, Nga-Rauru, and Whanganui men had entrenched themselves in a position above a mile beyond St. George’s Redoubt and near the mouth of the Katikara River. Falling in at daybreak on the 4th June the 57th (under Colonel Warre) and the 70th crossed the Katikara River and advanced upon the native entrenchments.

From the original edition of the Illustrated London News.

Isole Dell’ Indie, diuise in Filippine, Molucche, e della Sonda

Impressive c.17th map of the East Indies showing the fabled Spice Islands by Vincenzo Coronelli which was very advanced for its day. Coronelli used the extensive geographical information collected by the Jesuits who had a far reaching network of missions in Asia. Coronelli himself  a Franciscan priest was widely recognised as one of the greatest cartographers and globemakers of the seventeenth century. He was famous for having constructed a pair of the world’s largest globes for King Louis XIV. Measuring over 4.5 metres in diameter and weighing approximately two tonnes, the globes were large enough to hold up to thirty people inside. The map has a large decorative title at lower left held by a pair of winged mermen and is dedicated to the abbot of Daniele Gradenigo, Padua. At top right is a large embellished scale of distances.

From Coronelli’s thirteen-volume atlas Atlante veneto, nel quale si contiene la descrittione geografica, storica, sacra, profana, e politica, degl’ impery, regni, provincie, e stati dell’universo…

National Library Australia: Bib ID 2118779

Man of New Zealand.

Rare engraving from the official British Admiralty
sanctioned edition of the accounts of Cook’s second voyage. All other later
copies made of this image by other publishers were unauthorised, usually
smaller and inferior in quality.

Hodges made the portrait for this engraving on 22 October 1773 on Cook’s second visit to Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand on his second visit from 22 October to 26 November 1773.

‘In the morning we were to the south of Cape Kidnappers, and advanced to the Black Cape. After breakfast three canoes put off from this part of the shore, where some level land appeared at the foot of the mountains. They soon came on board as we were not very far from the land, and in one of them a chief, who came without hesitation. He was a tall middle-aged man, clothed in two new and elegant dresses, made of the New Zealand glag or flax-plant. His hair was dressed in the highest fashion of the country, tied on the crown, oiled, and stuck with white feathers. In each ear he wore a piece of albatross skin with its white down, and his face was punctured in spirals and curved lines.’ 

References; Beddie 1381-55, p.269, Joppien 2.90A, ill.p.193

From Cook’s, A Voyage Towards the South Pole, and Round the World, performed in His Majesty’s Ships the ‘Resolution’ and ‘Adventure’, In the Years 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775.