VOYAGE A LA NOUVELLE GUINEE, DANS LEQUEL ON TROUVE LA DESCRIPTION DES LIEUX, DES OBSERVATIONS PHYSIQUES & MORALES, & DES DETAILS RELATIFS A L'HISTOIRE NATURELLE DANS LE REGNE ANIMAL & LE REGNE VEGETAL
Paris: Ruault, 1776. First Edition Quarto (7-7/8" x 10") bound in contemporary gilt-ruled polished calf leather rebacked preserving the gilt-decorated spine with morocco spine label, marbled endpapers; xii, [iv], 206,  pages. Complete with the half-title page and 119 full-page engraved plates (numbered to 120 as issued, including the frontispiece), a few folding, largely depicting the botany and birds (79 plates) of New Guinea. The beautiful plates are for the most exotic birds, including one of the first representations of the Australian Kookaburra, named here the "great Kingfisher New Guinea." Nissen 885; Wood 577; Zimmer 596-597. The flora depicted include palms and spices (nutmeg and cloves). Much detailed information about the Moluccas and Manila as well as the island of Luzon in Antigua. Two small ink stamps on the title page, some offsetting, occasional spotting, a few finger-marks; old bookseller description pasted to the front pastedown. Minor repairs to the binding. Overall a clean, Near Fine example of this scarce title (Item ID: 017237)
Sonnerat made several voyages to southeast Asia, visiting the Philippines and Moluccas between 1769 and 1772, and India and China from 1774 to 1781. He was the first person to give a scientific description of the south Chinese fruit tree lychee. The standard author abbreviation Sonn. is used to indicate this individual as the author when citing a botanical name. He was known to speak out against the prevalent racism of his day.