Joseph Banks’ Florilegium
A Flowering of Science: Plants from Captain Cook’s First Voyage
At the age of 25, Joseph Banks (1743-1820) accompanied Captain Cook on the Endeavour, in 1768, to Tahiti to chart the transit of Venus. The expedition was commissioned by the Royal Society and funded by King George III. Its secondary mission was to classify species and collect specimens of flora and fauna during their encounters with new territories along the way. 3,607 plant specimens were identified and 30,828 specimens collected. Over 1,400 of these have been calculated by contemporary scholars to have been entirely new. On their return, Banks over saw a team of 25 master engravers who produced copper plates to stand testimony to the collection. Prints from at least 743 of these magnificent engravings constitute Banks’ Florilegium.
The images represented in this sequence of pendants and brooches are inspired by the collection of Australian specimens in the Florilegium. This connection with Banks’ work is established by the specimen name and number which is engraved on the back of each piece.