THE LINDA HALL LIBRARY HISTORY OF SCIENCE COLLECTION
Voyage of Dumont d'Urville 1826-1829
D’Urville’s arrival in New Zealand was the beginning
of his dream to bring Cook’s maps of the islands into
sharper focus. That great navigator’s maps consistently
kept d’Urville on track, but he was able to make corrections
in them. He wrote that Cook’s "configurations were
extremely inaccurate and errors in longitude made in the first
voyage were as high as one degree…"
"Nataï, one of the chiefs
of the Bay of Wangari, New Zealand"
from Voyage de la Corvette l’Astrolabe… Pendant les Années
1826-1829: Paris: J. Tastu, 1830-1834.
Louis-Auguste de Sainson was working
as a special clerk for the admiralty when he offered his services
as artist for the expedition. D’Urville was pleased to accept;
Sainson had developed an excellent reputation as an artist. Of
his striking portrait of Nataï, d’Urville wrote that
Sainson’s "clever brush faithfully reproduced the features,
the mako (tatoo design) and the facial expression of this New
Zealand warrior". The various tribes on the two islands had
an entrenched and complicated military tradition, and d’Urville
perceived a parallel between the crushing military requirements
of young men in New Zealand and in Europe. He "felt sad to
think that military honor" tended to discourage a natural
"gentle, kindly temperament."