sketcher, hydrographic draughtsman and naval officer, was born on 19 February 1764 at Palma, Majorca. Nothing is known of his parents, except that his mother’s maiden name was Canas; it is possible, however, that he was a member of the same family as the fifteenth-century painter Gregory Bauza and the late nineteenth-century painter Juan Bauza, both of whom were Majorcan by birth. Bauza entered the Royal Spanish School of Navigation on 10 February 1779 and subsequently took part in naval actions against the British and Algerians. Early in 1789 he was appointed drawing master at the Marine Academy, Cadiz, but was almost immediately seconded as hydrographer and chartmaker to the great scientific and exploratory expedition which left Cadiz on 30 July 1789 under the command of Alejandro Malaspina. Two ships, the Descubierta and the Atrevida , had been provided for the expedition; Bauza, holding the rank of ensign, sailed on the former. During the next five years of voyaging in the Pacific region, Bauza mainly executed hydrographic charts but also some topographical views and figure studies.

Although the expedition’s itinerary concentrated on the Spanish colonies in the Americas, Micronesia and the Philippines it also included the new British settlement in New South Wales. As Britain and Spain had recently been at war, the Spanish felt that the settlement at Port Jackson (or, as they believed, at Botany Bay) posed a potential threat to the security of their colonies on the western coast of South America and even of those on the Californian coast. Malaspina’s ships arrived at Botany Bay on 12 March 1793 but rough weather prevented them from entering. The following day they sailed into Port Jackson instead, where they found, not the expected armed British naval base, but a far more relaxed settlement, albeit a penal colony. Here the ships anchored for a month.

Bauza continued his hydrographic work during his stay in Sydney. Malaspina wrote to Antonio Valdes, minister for the navy, that the British allowed them 'to verify any geodesic measurements we want’, subsequently noting in his log that all hydrographic soundings, both inside and outside Port Jackson, were completed by the afternoon of 3 April. Bauza also charted part of the Parramatta River during a trip to Parramatta on 7 April. Their observations complete, the Spanish ships left Sydney on 12 April. On his return to Spain in 1795 Bauza was promoted to lieutenant. He was posted to the Hydrographic Institute in Madrid, acting as deputy to his former shipmate Jose Espinosa and replacing him on his death. After his retirement Bauza settled in London, where he died in 1834.

In the meantime, Malaspina had been charged with treason, imprisoned and finally exiled, and all official records and reports of the expedition had been confiscated. Bauza’s own collection (gathered unofficially and perhaps secretly during the voyage) somehow escaped this fate: two large albums containing over 200 drawings and 16 charts were passed on to his heirs. The collection was offered for sale in 1962; most items were purchased by a Spanish collector and benefactor but a few which relate to Australia were bought by the Dixson Galleries. Two of these were the sketches, English in New Holland and Convicts in New Holland —described in the Sydney Morning Herald at the time of their purchase as 'Australia’s first fashion pictures’—which have been widely accepted as the work of the figure painter on the expedition, Juan Ravenet . In 1982, however, these were re-attributed to Bauza by the Spanish art-historian C. Sotos Serrano. The drawings are unsigned and are certainly less finished than most of Ravenet’s other Australian work but Sotos Serrano gives no evidence for her attribution other than the drawings’ provenance. For the same reason she also attributes some of the expedition’s topographical views, previously attributed to Fernando Brambila , to Bauza, although none of the views in question are Australian.

Callaway, Anita
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