Paris, France: H. Rousseau, Circa 1855. Voyages Aux Mers Polaires/Voyages To The Polar Seas--Three Dissected Lithographed and Hand-Painted Polar History Panels Plus Cover Scene. Published by H. Rousseau, Paris Circa 1855, H. Jannin Lithographer, Paris, C. Bommier Artist. Cover 11.5 x 14.5 inches. Dissected Panels measure 10.5 x 13.5 inches.
The cover plate is in fair condition. Lithograph laid onto heavy board. Heavy foxing, soiling, small tears and extensive wear to edges. Gum Arabic used on all figures including the two dogs. Colors dull. Bottom portion of box missing.
Three dissected plates are in very good condition. Each plate laid down on 1/8-inch-thick wood, covered by blue paper. Bright colors with minimal soiling and light edge wear. Gum Arabic used on 10 of 12 panels. One plate is missing three small puzzle jigs plus one jig missing from second plate. Third plate complete. Each plate comes with a presumed original, thick blue board the size of the completed puzzle on which the puzzle made be constructed. Comes with Riker boxes for each of the three puzzles.
These three mid-19th century dissected plates tell the stories of three Arctic Explorers: Jean-François de Galaup La Pérouse (1741-1788), James Cook (1728-1779) and Sir John Franklin (1786-1847) with vivid hand-colored scenes and pedagogic descriptions of each scene in French and English. Published by H. Rousseau, editor, Lithographs by H. Jannin, Paris and artwork by C. Bommier. This same trio published a History of France in 1850 utilizing this same format. We have been unsuccessful finding any record in commerce or OCLC as of December 2022 of "Voyages Aux Mers Polaires/Voyages To The Polar Seas."
Each plate has four panels with vivid action scenes. The Cook saga includes the loss of a ship mast by winds, Cook claiming the Island of Georgia for the King of England, sailors gathering ice for drinking water and a trip to the tropics for Cook's death in Hawaii. The La Perouse story includes an Eskimo in a kayak surrounded by seals, a whale hunting scene, a white bear attack and the untimely death of the explorer. Captain Franklin is shown fending off Eskimos, a dramatic show of blowing up ice holding his ship captive while Eskimo children sit idlily by, The skinning of a Polar Bear and the death of Lieutenant Bellot. Interesting that each plate ends with death (Cook and La Perouse), but by publication date, possible as early as 1854, some still hoped for Franklin's survival.
A fascinating and compelling mid-19th century artifact about Arctic exploration. Rare. Item #231