In Australia for the first time in 200 Years

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 also features material from other French institutions, much of which has never before been displayed in Australia. These include Baudin’s chronometer, exquisite coastal profiles, hand drawn maps, and Baudin’s personal journal from France’s National Archives.

An Expedition During the Height of Napoleonic Tensions

Baudin’s ships, Géographe and Naturaliste embarked from Le Havre in October 1800 for the Southern continent carrying an impressive contingent of scientists and scientific assistants. Lavishly funded by Napoleon Bonaparte, the expedition’s 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. Lesueur and Petit created their paintings and drawings on the shores and off the coasts of Australia and captured some of the first European views of Australian animals, landscapes and very first portraits of Aboriginal people.

The museum would like to advise visitors that this exhibition may contain the names and images of deceased Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.

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

Exhibition Travelling Dates

South Australian Maritime Museum, Adelaide: 30 June – 11 December 2016

Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston: 7 January – 20 March 2017

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart: 7 April – 9 July 2017

Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney: 31 August – 26 November 2017

Western Australian Museum, Perth: 12 September – 12 December 2018


Exhibition Partners

Museum d’historie Naturelle Le Havre



Supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians.

Supported by the Australian Government International Exhibitions Insurance (AGIEI) Program. This program provides funding for the purchase of insurance for significant cultural exhibitions. Without AGIEI, the high cost of insuring significant cultural items would prohibit this major exhibition from touring to Australia.

Exhibition developed and presented by: South Australian Maritime Museum, Australian National Maritime Museum, National Museum of Australia, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Western Australian Museum, with the generous cooperation of the Museum d’histoire naturelle du Havre.