Arts and Culture

South australian maritime museum

The SA Maritime Museum explores and celebrates the human history of our oceans and rivers. We present our exhibitions gallery, lighthouse and vessels in the heart of Port Adelaide, South Australia’s first heritage precinct. The Museum preserves the oldest nautical collection in Australia, a collection begun in 1872.

Opening Hours: 10am to 5pm daily

SA Maritime Museum
26 Lipson Street
Port Adelaide SA 5015

(08) 8207 6255


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

SA Maritime Museum

30 June to 10 December 2016

Nicolas Baudin led the most lavishly equipped voyage of exploration ever to leave France. His ships carried 22 scientists and crates of equipment. Their mission was the discovery and study of natural sciences, underpinned by the emergence of new ideas and philosophies of reason.

Baudin’s ships were at once laboratories, menageries and artists’ studios. When the expedition returned to France in 1804 it carried a staggering 180,000 specimens: animal skins, marine life preserved in alcohol, dried plants, even live specimens.

Two artists on board, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur and Nicolas-Martin Petit, produced some of the first portraits of Aboriginal people and some of the earliest European views of Australian fauna, and marine life.

Lesueur and Petit studied a land that was new to European science. They meticulously recorded coastal profiles for navigation and captured, in exquisite detail animals and marine life for their scientific mission. Their paintings reflected the wonder and delight of their first glimpses of a new land.

Petit’s portraits of Aboriginal people showed a humanity and empathy that was rare in paintings of Indigenous people at the time.

Their paintings and drawings are preserved by the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle Le Havre. Our exhibition will bring 50 of their artworks to Adelaide, most for the first time since they were painted here. They will be accompanied by taxidermy specimens collected on the voyage, Nicolas Baudin’s chronometer and an original printing plate for the  Atlas, and  hand-drawn maps  of the coastline that have never  been displayed before.

The South Australian Maritime Museum will be the opening venue for a national tour. It will be followed by the Queen Victoria Museum and Gallery, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Australian National Maritime Museum, National Museum of Australia, and Western Australian Maritime Museum.

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

Public Programs

SALA - The Art of Engraving 
Join artists in residence Vicki Reynolds and Lorelei Medcalf and discover The Art of Science exhibition at the South Australian Maritime Museum. Over two weekends, printmakers Vicki and Lorelei will explore links between their work and French artists who documented Nicholas Baudin’s 1800-1804 scientific voyage the southern coast. Working in the Museum, they will produce stunning original prints alongside rare historic artworks on loan for a limited time from the Museum of Natural History in Le Havre, France. Included with general Maritime Museum admission.

The Art of Engraving with Vicki Reynolds - 14 August: 11am to 4pm

Every picture tells a story - Jean Fornasiero and John West-Sooby

Jean Fornasiero, Emeritus Professor of French Studies at the University of Adelaide and John West-Sooby, Professor of French Studies, also at the University of Adelaide have worked extensively on the history of French Exploration in the Pacific, with a focus on Nicolas Baudin’s scientific voyage of discovery (1800 – 1804). Together they will present two fascinating insights into the work of his artists, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur and Nicolas-Martin Petit. Lesueur’s rise to prominence after the three official artists abandoned the voyage at Mauritius, meant that his skills as a natural history artist were rapidly honed under the watchful eye of the scientists on board, in particular zoologist François Péron. These talks decode the stories behind both Lesueur's natural history illustrations and his detailed sketches of the fledgling British colony at Port Jackson.

Every picture tells a story: Reading the Artwork of Charles-Alexandre Lesueur – Thursday 18 August at 6:30pm

French Pacific Ambitions: the Baudin Expedition to Australia – Sunday 28 August at 2:00pm

Bookings essential. $10 Maritime Museum Members, $15 Non-members.

The Art of Engraving Workshops – Saturday 10 September and Saturday 8 October

This exclusive one day workshop with accomplished printmaker Vicki Reynolds will teach participants to prepare and print from copper plates using traditional and contemporary dry-point techniques. Suitable for beginners, students and teachers. Maximum 10 participants per workshop.

Bookings essential.$140 and $110 concession – includes materials and entry to the exhibition ‘The Art of Science’.

Josephine’s kangaroos: An Australian Garden at Malmaison – Tuesday 27 September at 6:00pm

When Baudin’s ship Naturaliste returned to Le Havre in 1803, Josephine Bonaparte tussled with the museum’s curators over its scientific haul. Seedlings collected by Baudin’s botanists were cultivated at her estate at Malmaison and kangaroos and emus grazed in her Australian arboretum. Carrick Hill’s Director, Richard Heathcote guides you through a little slice of Australia on the outskirts of 19th century Paris.

Bookings essential. $10 for Maritime Museum members, $15 for Non-members.

(A meeting of two extremes) La rencontre entre deux extrêmes: the art of the Flinders and Baudin Voyages – Tuesday 8 November at 6:00pm

Tracey Lock, Curator of Australian Paintings and Sculpture at the Art Gallery of South Australia, discusses the rich visual intersections between the art of the expeditions of Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders, two of the greatest voyages of European exploration. Through the expeditions' watercolours, drawings and prints, Tracey explores the collision of art and science and the clash of cultures.

Bookings essential. $10 for Maritime Museum members, $15 for Non-members.

For more information or to book, please contact the South Australian Maritime Museum.
T: 08 8207 6255
126 Lipson Street, Port Adelaide SA 5015

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