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First edition of Thévenot's rare and important travel accounts. 1663-1672. c. 1658

The scarce first edition of Melchisedec Thevenot’s (1620-693) “Accounts of several voyages”, with several rare and important maps: the first French map of Australia, Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia and China. Amongst travel collections, Thevenot’s occupies a distinguished place, being one of the most complete and lavishly produced; its scope includes Africa, the Far East, South East Asia, America, amongst other places. The relation on Australia is undoubtedly one of the most significant and primary sources of information on the island. The first three volumes deal predominantly with the Middle and the Far East, including China, Japan, the Philippines, Egypt, India/Mogul Empire, Africa, East Indies, Australia etc.; volume IV deals with China, Ethiopia, Egypt, Mexico, and Java.
“This first large-scale French travel collection, which was widely read during the Enlightenment, reflected a popular interest not so much in France’s expanding imperial pretensions, but rather in the collection and comparison of exceptional data concerning foreign lands, a cosmographical precursor to imperialist strivings of later times.”

The Tasman map is a cornerstone of Australian cartography, both as the earliest obtainable map of the region and the predominant depiction from which the World would know the island for about a century.


Melchisedech Thévenot (1620-1692)

Melchisedech Thévenot was a French diplomat, scientist, and travel writer. He was a scholar with interests in mathematics, physics, and medicine, acting as the patron of several early scientific societies and contributing to the formation of the Académie des Sciences. His early career included two missions to Italy in the 1640s and 1650s, and it was there that he first developed an interest in the study of Oriental languages. In 1663, he published the first part of “Relations de Divers Voyages”, a work that would secure his reputation as one of the essential travel compilers of the seventeenth century. He would publish a second and third part in 1666, a fourth in 1672, and a final fifth part was being assembled in 1692 when Thévenot died.

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THÉVENOT, Melchisedec – Relations de divers voyages curieux, qui n’ont point esté publiees, ou qui ont esté traduites d’Hacluyt, de Purchas, & d’autres voyageurs anglois, hollandois, portugais, allemands, espagnols, et de quelques Persans, Arabes, et autres auteurs orientaux. Enrichies de figures de plantes non décrites, d’animaux inconnus à l’Europe, & de cartes geographiques de pays dont on n’a point encore donné de cartes.

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Item Number:  25428
Category:  Antique maps > Australia

THÉVENOT, Melchisedec – Relations de divers voyages curieux, qui n’ont point esté publiees, ou qui ont esté traduites d’Hacluyt, de Purchas, & d’autres voyageurs anglois, hollandois, portugais, allemands, espagnols, et de quelques Persans, Arabes, et autres auteurs orientaux.

Première (- IV.) partie.
Paris, Jacques Langlois for himself and for Gaspard Meturas, Simon Piget, Emanuel Langlois, Thomas Jolly and Louis Billaine [II: Jacques Langlois; III: Sébastien Mabre-Cramoisy; IV: André Cramoisy], 1663 (I)-1664 (II)-1666 (III)-1672 (IV).

Folio: 4 parts in 2 volumes: (I) [8]-52-26-40 [= 44]-12-80-30 [= 28]-24-35-[1]-56-xxv-[2, 1 bl.] pp.; (II) [16]-20-60-128-40-16-48-4 pp.; (III) [12]-68-27-[1]-216-12 pp.; (IV) [4]-14-24-23-[1 bl.]-23-[1]-24-16-4-16-8-[2]-4-40-[2]-58-18-12 pp.

With 43 engravings – 13 folding maps: - Colchis, Hindustan, Basra, Australia, Madagascar, 5 maps of the Indonesian Archipelago, China, Mindanao, Japan, ‘Route du voyage de Canton à Peking’.

Lacking (as always, according to Brunet): quire E = 8 pp. of woodcuts of ‘Histoire des Mexicains’ in vol. IV.

Cont. mottled sheep, richly gilt spine on 6 raised bands, gilt sides, red edges (leather skilfully repaired, slightly brittle at edges and joints).
Very good set (paper occasionally toned, some very minor paper flaws or soiling, a few sm. tears in folding plates)

Nicolas Dew, Reading travels in the culture of curiosity: Thévenot’s collection of voyages, Journal of Early Modern History, 10, 2006, 39-59.
Brunet V, 810-813; Landwehr (VOC), 258 ; Sabin, 95333

The scarce first edition of Melchisedec Thevenot’s (1620-693) “Accounts of several voyages”, with several rare and important maps: the first French map of Australia, Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia and China. Amongst travel collections, Thevenot’s occupies a distinguished place, being one of the most complete and lavishly produced; its scope includes Africa, the Far East, South East Asia, America, amongst other places. The relation on Australia is undoubtedly one of the most significant and primary sources of information on the island. The first three volumes deal predominantly with the Middle and the Far East, including China, Japan, the Philippines, Egypt, India/Mogul Empire, Africa, East Indies, Australia etc.; volume IV deals with China, Ethiopia, Egypt, Mexico, and Java.
“This first large-scale French travel collection, which was widely read during the Enlightenment, reflected a popular interest not so much in France’s expanding imperial pretensions, but rather in the collection and comparison of exceptional data concerning foreign lands, a cosmographical precursor to imperialist strivings of later times.”

The Tasman map is a cornerstone of Australian cartography, both as the earliest obtainable map of the region and the predominant depiction from which the World would know the island for about a century.


Melchisedech Thévenot (1620-1692)

Melchisedech Thévenot was a French diplomat, scientist, and travel writer. He was a scholar with interests in mathematics, physics, and medicine, acting as the patron of several early scientific societies and contributing to the formation of the Académie des Sciences. His early career included two missions to Italy in the 1640s and 1650s, and it was there that he first developed an interest in the study of Oriental languages. In 1663, he published the first part of “Relations de Divers Voyages”, a work that would secure his reputation as one of the essential travel compilers of the seventeenth century. He would publish a second and third part in 1666, a fourth in 1672, and a final fifth part was being assembled in 1692 when Thévenot died.