State Library of NSW
Louis XVI giving final instructions to the Comte de la Perouse, 1785, 1911 / painted by Edouard Nuel1911
This painting depicts Louis XVI giving instructions to French naval officer Comte de La Pérouse, in the presence of the Marquis of Castries, Minister for the Navy, on 29 June 1785. La Perouse led two ships, the Boussole and the Astrolabe, on a voyage of exploration around the world, visiting Botany Bay in 1788.
The scene was originally painted by French artist, Nicolas-André Monsiau in 1817 — this copy, by Edouard Nuel, was commissioned by the NSW government in 1910, following a refusal from the French government to loan the original. By the time the painting was received by the Art Gallery of NSW in July 1911, the scope of its collection was being redefined, and works considered to have more historical interest than artistic merit were transferred to other institutions in Sydney.