Joseph Banks’ Florilegium

Wild Flora from Cook’s First Voyage
David Mabberley, Joseph Studholme and Mel Gooding
Published by Thames & Hudson

The first full-colour publication of the botanical illustrations commissioned by Joseph Banks, with commentaries. 

Joseph Banks accompanied Captain Cook on his first voyage round the world from 1768–71. A gifted and wealthy young naturalist, Banks collected exotic flora from Madeira, Brazil, Tierra del Fuego, the Society Islands, New Zealand, Australia and Java, amassing over 1,300 species that had never been seen or studied by Europeans. On his return, Banks commissioned over 700 superlative engravings. 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 during his lifetime, and it was not until 1990 that a complete set in colour was issued in an extremely limited boxed edition under the direction of the British Museum. It is from these prints that the present selection is made by Professor David Mabberley, accompanied by 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.

Banks’ Florilegium is not only a great scientific record, but also a major achievement of collaborative Enlightenment art, and a work of botanical illustration of outstanding beauty.

Published by Thames & Hudson

Hardback

320 pages

175 illustrations

355 mm x 265 mm

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