This website may not work correctly in Internet Explorer. We recommend switching to a more secure modern web browser such as Microsoft Edge which is already installed on your computer.

View this website in Edge.

  • Published: UWA Publishing
  • Formats: Print

The French Collector: Journal and Letters of Théodore Leschenault, Botanist of the Baudin Expedition

‘It is only with difficulty that I may describe for you the sensations I felt the first time I went ashore on an unknown coast. My whole being was filled with confused pleasure, everything around me sparked my curiosity – pebbles, shells washed up on the beach, plants. I collected all with wild enthusiasm…’

The French botanist Théodore Leschenault (1773–1826) travelled with Nicolas Baudin’s voyage of discovery to Australia in the years 1800 to 1803: his journal and letters vividly record his impressions of the plant life and animals he encountered, along with dramatic and unsettling meetings with Indigenous peoples. Shaped as much by Enlightenment ideas as by his painful experience of the French Revolution, Leschenault weaves through his travelogue reflections on topics ranging from slavery and colonialism to plant systematics and environmental damage.

Long thought lost, Leschenault’s original manuscript journal was rediscovered only in 2016. The French Collector offers the first complete English translation of this journal (including two previously unknown chapters recounting his experiences in Le Havre, Tenerife and Mauritius) and various letters relating to the expedition. This edition also provides extensive explanatory notes and an introduction which details Leschenault’s early life in Burgundy and imprisonment during the Revolution and sets his activities against the backdrop of French science and exploration in the period.



Buy or borrow

We recommend browsing the business website or calling to confirm they have this book in stock or can order this book in for you before visiting in person

Keep me updated

Stay in touch with literary happenings in your region and across WA

* indicates required
© Tourism WA