A rare early print of New Zealand, seen in the image is a meeting between Māori and Europeans on a beach.
The following text comes from the catalogue for the exhibition Tirohanga Whānui:
Although Lauvergne’s name appears on the lithograph and some coastal profiles were drawn by him as La Favorite sailed down from North Cape to the Bay of Islands, no original drawing for this image has ever been found. Lauvergne had already visited New Zealand onboard L’Astrolabe under d’Urville.
He recorded pleasant exchanges between Māori and Europeans; the group on the far left are almost affectionately engaged; French sailors are helping Māori pull in a net; animated conversations are taking place in the middle right.
Other contacts made between La Favorite’s crew and Māori included meetings with the chiefs Pōmare and Rewa and also with a “female cohort” which invaded the ship one night, an event to which Captain Laplace turned a blind eye.
He did not, however, when he and his crew witnessed savage scenes involving cannibalism having come upon a war party returning from the South. In a clear reference to current French philosophical notions of the Noble Savage inspired by Rousseau, Laplace wrote:
“I would like to know what one of these philosophers who consider man in his wild state to be a model of innocence and goodness would have said if he had been present at this spectacle.”
This historic engraving is from Cyrille Pierre Theodore Laplace's Voyage around the world by the seas of India and China of the corvette of Her Majesty La Favorite executed during the 1830s, 1831 and 1832 under the command of Mr. Laplace, Commander. The work was published under the direction of M. de Sainson in Paris by Arthus Bertrand in 1835.
The work included beautiful views of Reunion Island and Mauritius, Singapore, Manila, Sydney and Rio de Janeiro. The work has been described as "perhaps the finest series of plates to any of the picturesque voyages" (Sabin 38985) and "...sumptuous.... They are some of the most beautiful plates of the kind in existence..." (Borba de Moraes p. 458)
Captain Laplace began his around the world voyage from Toulon on December 30, 1829 aboard the corvette La Favorite. He was commissioned to circumnavigate the globe by the French government. He passed through Gibralter, Goree, Cape of Good Hope, Mauritius, Saint-Louis de la Reunion, Indies, Singapore, Manila, Canton, Indonesia, Sydney, New Zealand, Vaplparaiso Cape Horn, and Rio de Janeiro before returning to Toulon on April 21, 1832.
"In December 1829, Laplace was commissioned to take an expedition to India, the East Indies and South East Asia, and then, if he chose to do so, proceed through the South Pacific. His instructions were to provide protection for French merchant vessels and obtain at each port-of-call information which might be of value to French trade." (Hill)
"From the scientific viewpoint, Laplace’s voyage was one of the most successful. The maps made from surveys in the Pacific and the collections which were assembled became famous during that period." (Borba de Moraes)