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JUKES, J. Beete.

Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of H.M.S. Fly, commanded by Captain F. P. Blackwood, R.N.

in Torres Strait, New Guinea, and other Islands of the Eastern Archipelago, during the Years 1842-1846: together with an Excursion into the Interior of the Eastern Part of Java ...

Published: London: T. & W. Boone, 1847

Stock code: 94462

Price: £7,500

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

An exceptional copy of the first edition, first issue – in ” fine straight-ribbed blue cloth, all boards with elaborate blind stamped central ornament” (Wantrup) – of this “very important voyage” (Hill) commissioned by the Admiralty to survey the Torres Strait, the Great Barrier Reef, as well as the various regions in New Guinea. This was one of a series of detailed hydrographical surveys undertaken for the Admiralty around this time, its specific purpose being to have the Great Barrier Reef explored “and to have the gaps surveyed in order that some means might be devised for marking the most eligible of these openings, in order that they could be recognised in due time and passed through in comparative safety” (Ingelton, Charting a Continent). The expedition was noteworthy for being “the first to be despatched to Australia on a purely surveying mission”. These surveys of the Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef were of great importance, as also the discoveries made in New Guinea and the surrounding islands. Blackwood’s Directions for this dangerous part of the Australian coast were so “accurate that many appear on maps to the present day” (Hogego). Jukes, who was naturalist to the expedition, was destined for the cloth, but despite advice to the contrary, insisted on attending Adam Sedgwick’s geology classes at Cambridge “this proved to be Jukes’s moment of rebirth. Visions of the cloth vanished” (ODNB). In 1839, through Sedgwick’s influence he was appointed geological surveyor to the colony of Newfoundland, on his return to England he failed to secure the chair in geology at University College, London, but was selected to accompany the Fly to Australia; “over the next four years Jukes pursued his science in locations such as Madeira, Cape Colony, New Guinea, Australia, and the Great Barrier Reef. By the time the Fly dropped anchor at Spithead on 19 June 1846 he was a geologist of global experience … he [was to become] perhaps the finest British field geologist of his day”. A handsome, and unusually well-preserved copy.

2 volumes octavo. Original dark blue combed cloth, titles gilt to the spine, elaborate panelling in blind to the boards, yellow surface-paper endpapers. Housed in a dark blue flat back cloth solander box by the Chelsea Bindery. Uncoloured aquatint frontispiece to each, and 14 other similar plates in all, together with 3 engraved plates, and numerous engraved illustrations to the text including one full-page, a folding map at the rear of each volume. Very light shelf-wear, corners just bumped, mild crumpling head and tail of the spines, hinges just starting, light browning, some foxing front and back with a scatter else, but a very good copy indeed. Engraved crested bookplates of Hugh Edward Adair (1815-1902), 3rd baronet of Flixton Hall, Suffolk, to the pastedowns.

Bibliography: Ferguson 4549; Hill 901; Howgego, II, B39; Ingleton, pp.61-8; Spence 468; Wantrup 92a.

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