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Joseph Banks' Florilegium: Botanical Treasures from Cook's First Voyage

By Mel Gooding, with commentaries by David Maberley & afterword by Joe Studholme



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Author Mel Gooding, with commentaries by David Maberley & afterword by Joe Studholme
Binding Hardback
Date published September 2019
Number of pages 320
Publisher Thames & Hudson Ltd
ISBN / Item No. 9780500022870


A beautiful, vivid publication of the botanical illustrations commissioned by Joseph Banks, with added expert commentaries to help bring the story behind them alive.

Joseph Banks accompanied Captain Cook on his first voyage round the world from 1768 to 1771. A gifted and wealthy young naturalist, Banks collected exotic flora from Madeira, Brazil, Tierra del Fuego, the Society Islands, New Zealand, Australia and Java, bringing back over 1,300 species that had never been seen or studied by Europeans.

On his return, Banks commissioned over 700 magnificent engravings between 1772 and 1784. Known collectively as Banks' Florilegium, they are some of the most precise and exquisite examples of botanical illustration ever created. The Florilegium was never published in Banks' lifetime, and it was not until 1990 that a complete set in colour was issued in a boxed edition (limited to 100 copies) under the direction of the British Museum (Natural History).

It is from these prints that the present selection is made, directed by David Mabberley, who has provided expert botanical commentaries, with additional texts by art historian Mel Gooding, setting the works in context as a perfect conjunction of nature, science and art.

An afterword by Joseph Studholme describes the history of the modern printing.

© The Royal Horticultural Society 2017