Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2014 Issue

Discovery and Exploration from Hordern House


A tattooed Marquesan islander.

Item 20 is an extremely rare original printing of Pedro Fernandez de Quiros' famed Eighth Memorial. In 1606, Quiros undertook a mission to the Pacific to find the legendary giant southern continent believed to exist, covering the southern end of the globe. It was a myth that would exist until disproven by Cook almost two centuries later. Quiros believed he had found it. In reality, he had discovered only Espiritu Santo, the large island of the current nation of Vanuato. Clearly, he did not sail far enough around it as he concluded that it was a northern arm of this giant continent. After returning to Spain with news of his “discovery,” he sought funding from King Philip III for a second expedition. Quiros' command skills left something to be desired and the King had no desire to fund him again. Quiros persisted. He sent something like 50+ “memorials” to the King discussing his discoveries and seeking to lead another expedition. Of these, Quiros had 14 printed. However, these were not printed for public distribution. Spain always kept its discoveries private for fear other nations would use that knowledge to steal their possessions or other bad actions. There were only a few copies printed for the King and others who were authorized to know the information within. Of this Eighth Memorial (so-called because it was the eighth one Quiros wrote, though only the fifth to be printed), only four other copies are known to exist. However, it has become known as a founding document of Australia, even though Quiros did not actually find Australia, as he called the “continent” “Austrialia del Espiritu Santo.” It is important because a copy was leaked and then reprinted in many locations and languages, becoming the document through which the world first heard about a land called, sort of, “Australia.” This copy is one of Quiros' original printings. Price on request,


A later expedition to the Pacific was that of Krusenstern. In 1804, his expedition visited the Marquesas Islands. It was there that his naturalist/physician/artist Georg von Langsdorff drew the pencil and watercolor sketch offered as item 13. It is of a tattooed native that would put even an NBA basketball player to shame. This is truly art (see the image on this page). This drawing appeared in Langsdorff's account of the voyage, but some of the detail seen here was lost in the printing due to limitations of the engravers. $45,000.


You may reach Hordern House at +61 (02) 9356 4411 or rare@hordern.com. Their website is found at www.hordern.com.

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