SONNERAT, Pierre (1748-1814) - Voyage aux Indes orientales et à la Chine : fait par ordre du Roi : depuis 1774, jusqu'en 1781. Parigi: presso l’autore, Froullé, Nyon e Barrois, 1782. - Fine first edition of this "celebrated classic of natural history exploration and discoveries in the Far East" (Hill). The author travelled to India, China, Ceylon, the Philippines, Burma, Madagascar, Cape of Good Hope and elsewhere. The text can be classified in three distinct groups: the topographical, the sociological and the part relative to natural history, based on observations made during different periods of the journey, but mainly completed at Isle de France [i.e. Mauritius] and Madagascar. Half-titles, 138 (of 140) engraved plates by Poisson after drawings by Sonnerat (lacking plates 80 and 119, occasional light browning). Contemporary French mottled calf gilt, marbled edges (lightly rubbed). Being the two volumes are preserved in their original bindings the two missing plates were probably never bound in. Provenance: unidentified armorial bookplate - small private stamp on half-titles - shelfmark “G” on spine labels. Cordier Sinica III, 2102 ('Pour la beaute des epreuves, cette edition est preferable a celle de 1806'); Cox I, p. 300 ('valuable work'); See Madeleine Ly-Tio-Fane, Pierre Sonnerat, 1748-1814: an Account of His Life and Work, 1976. (2) .