State Library of South Australia

The Art of Science: Baudin’s Voyagers 1800 - 1804

Date: 6 July 2016

A South Australian Maritime Museum exhibition, on display until 11 December 2016 at 126 Lipson Street, Port Adelaide. Open daily 10am to 5pm.

Poisson Diodon porcupine fish by Charles Alexandre Lesueur watercolour and ink on paper Natural History Museum Le Havre
Poisson Diodon (porcupine fish), Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, watercolour and ink on paper. Museum d'histoire naturelle, Le Havre

The South Australian Maritime Museum is hosting The Art of Science: Baudin's Voyagers 1800 -1804, an exhibition of exquisite illustrations by French artists made during Nicolas Baudin's exploration of Australia.

Lavishly funded by Napoleon Bonaparte, Baudin's expedition agenda was the discovery and study of natural sciences, underpinned by the emergence of new ideas and philosophies of reason.

The exhibition showcases original sketches and paintings created by Baudin's artists Charles- Alexandre Lesueur and Nicolas-Martin Petit during the voyage of 1800-1804. The Art of Science: Baudin's Voyagers 1800 -1804 brings over 340 of the original paintings and drawings from the Museum of Natural History in Le Havre, France to Australian audiences for the first time, with a different suite of paintings showcased at each touring venue.

The exhibition showcases material from other French institutions, much of which has never been displayed in Australia, including:

  • Baudin's chronometer
  • exquisite coastal profiles
  • hand drawn maps, and
  • Baudin's personal journal from France's National Archives.

Public Programs

SALA - The Art of Engraving
Journey with artists in residence Vicki Reynolds and Lorelei Medcalf and explore The Art of Science exhibition at the South Australian Maritime Museum.

7 August at 11am to 4pm - SALA - The Art of Engraving with Lorelei Medcalf
14 August at 11am to 4pm - SALA - The Art of Engraving with Vicki Reynolds

Talking history
9 August at 5.30pm
Talking History - Desperately Seeking Baudin
Presentation by SA Maritime Museum Senior Curator Lindl Lawton

18 August at 6.30pm
"Every picture tells a story": Reading the Artwork of Charles-Alexandre Lesueur

28 August at 2pm
French Pacific Ambitions: the Baudin Expedition to Australia

10 September and 8 October
Workshop - The Art of Engraving
The one day workshop will teach participants to prepare and print copper plates using traditional and contemporary drypoint techniques.

27 September at 6pm
'Josephine's kangaroos ~ An Australian Garden at Malmaison"
Presentation by Richard Heathcote, Director, Carrick Hill

8 November at 6pm
(A meeting of two extremes) La rencontre entre deux extr mes: the art of the Flinders and Baudin Voyages
Presentation by Tracey Lock, Curator of Australian Paintings and Sculpture at the Art Gallery of South Australia

More information

For more information about the Public Programs, please contact the SA Maritime Museum on 8207 6255 or

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