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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

La Perouse, from a miniature in the possession of La Perouse's niece at Alby, n.d.

Thomas Woolnoth (engraver) and Charles Knight (publisher)

engraving on paper (sheet: 42.4 cm x 27.4 cm, image: 12.3 cm x 9.8 cm)

Jean-François de Galaup la Pérouse, Comte de la Pérouse (1741-1788), navigator, joined the French navy as a boy, rising to the rank of captain and serving with distinction and humanity in campaigns against the English in Hudson Bay in 1782. Selected to lead the French expedition seeking to ratify Cook's discoveries in the Pacific and clarify geographical mysteries in the Bering Sea, he left in command of the Boussole and L'Astrolabe in 1785. After touching at Alaska, California, Macao, Manila, Korea, Sakhalin Island and Kamchatka (whence he dispatched his journals) he headed for New Holland. In Samoa eleven of the Astrolabe's crew were killed, but he made no reprisals. He was seen off the coast of Botany Bay in January 1788, and welcomed ashore by John Hunter. He stayed for six weeks in the area that now bears his name; but on 10 March he sailed away, never to be seen again. During the French revolution, it was rumoured that the English had had a hand in his disappearance. A search led by Bruny d'Entrecasteaux in 1791 proved fruitless; it was not until thirty years after his departure from New South Wales that it was established that he had wrecked at Santa Cruz. The four-volume Voyage De La Pérouse Autour du Monde, the account of his journey as far as Kamchatka, was published in Paris in 1797 and translated into English a few years later.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Ted and Gina Gregg 2012

Accession number: 2012.81

Currently not on display

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Subject professions

Exploration and settlement

Donated by

Loretta Pash (40 portraits)

Related information

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.