Original copper-plate engraving after Jacques-Julien Houtou de LaBillardiere(1755-1834), a naturalist and author
of the offical account of the Déntrecasteux Voyage. In May 1793, he arrived at the island of Vanikoro, which is part of the Santa Cruz group of islands.
D'Entrecasteaux thought he saw smoke signals from several elevated areas on the island, but was unable to investigate due to the dangerous reefs
surrounding the island and had to leave. He died two months later.Jacques Labillardière, attached to the expedition,
eventually returned to France and published his account,
Relation du Voyage à la Recherche de la Pérouse, in 1800.
It was not until 1826 that an Irish captain, Peter Dillon, found enough evidence to piece together the events of the tragedy. In Tikopia (one of the islands of Santa Cruz), he bought some swords he had reason to believe had belonged to La Pérouse. He made enquiries, and found that they came from nearby Vanikoro, where two big ships had broken up. Dillon managed to obtain a ship in Bengal, and sailed for Vanikoro where he found cannon balls, anchors and other evidence of the remains of ships in water between coral reefs. He brought several of these artifacts back to Europe, as did Dumont d'Urville in 1828. De Lesseps, the only member of the expedition still alive at the time, identified them as all belonging to the Astrolabe. From the information Dillon received from the people on Vanikoro, a rough reconstruction could be made of the disaster that struck La Pérouse, which was confirmed by the find and search of the shipwreck of the Boussole in 1964. In May 2005, the wreck was formally identified as that of the Boussole.
Published Paris 1800
Condition = Original condition on laid paper. Hand tinted.
Size of image = 39cm x 24cm