The Endeavour botanical illustrations


Joseph Banks intended to issue 14 volumes of his natural history discoveries made during the Endeavour voyage. A total of 738 copper plates based on Sydney Parkinson’s watercolours were eventually engraved, with the intention of using these to include illustrations.

It took Banks 11 years to arrange for the engravings to be completed in the eighteenth century, but the publication of the volumes never happened.

A selection of the copper plate engravings was published in 1973 in a bound volume entitled Captain Cook’s Florilegium, but it wasn’t till the 1980s that a full set was made available under the title Banks’ Florilegium – a project which itself took 10 years to complete.

The image here is of Hibiscus Rosa-sinensis, one of Parkinson’s watercolours from Tahiti.


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