Skip to main content

Jacques Arago
, c. 1830s

by Nicolas Maurin and Alexandre Sixdeniers (engraver)

engraving on paper (sheet: 28.7 cm x 19.9 cm, image: 16.7 cm x 12.9 cm)

More images of this artwork

Jacques Etienne Victor Arago (1790–1855), author, artist and explorer, travelled with Louis-Claude de Saulces de Freycinet on his 1817 voyage on the Uranie. Dispatched to determine the shape of the earth once and for all, the corvette carried 120 men and 23 officers, as well as De Freycinet’s young wife Rose, accommodated in secret on the poop deck. Uranie visited Australia, East Timor, many Pacific islands and South America before being wrecked in the Falklands in February 1820; Freycinet noted that of everyone on board, Arago was the boldest, toughest and most intelligent. In New South Wales, members of Freycinet’s expedition met the Aboriginal men associated with explorers John Oxley, Charles Throsby, Alexander Berry and others, resulting in Arago’s portraits of sitters such as the Dharawal senior men Timbery and Broughton. Earlier in the voyage Arago had recorded the tense encounter between the expedition’s crew and the Malgana people at Cape Peron in Western Australia. Arago also made more drawings of Indigenous Hawaiians than any other European visitor, and the voyage resulted in his best-known book, Voyage autour du monde, published soon after he returned to Paris. Though he lost his sight in 1837, he continued to travel and write for the theatre.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2009
Accession number: 2009.60