He may have died almost 200 years ago but the naturalist Joseph Banks is still hot, it’s official.
The one-time global explorer and long-serving president of the Royal Society has been awarded a place in The Dashing Duchesses’ ‘Historical Hottie’ hall of fame.
Not only that, but he’s also been endowed with ‘Hot and Historical’ status and immortalized as a pin-up in a series of posters, postcards, badges and mouse mats.
What was it about Banks that made the Duchesses swoon? He was a “robust, cheerful man with a head of dark curls, an intent look in his eyes, and an inquiring mind,” writes one member of the romance authors group.
“Enthusiastic about discovering and exploring what was different at a time when the lack of cultural interaction often led Europeans to feel superior, he made many friends among the Tahitians, learned their language, slept in their homes, marveled at the grace and bravery of their men as they surfed, and delighted in the beauty and… charms of the Tahitian women.”
The Duchess goes on to quote one racy passage from Banks’ journal, describing an encounter with some of the islanders, written on this day in 1769:
“While I sat trading in the boat at the door of the fort a double Canoe came with several woman and one man under an awning. The Indians round me made signs that I should go out and meet them, … Another man came forward having in his arms a large bundle of cloth. This he opend out and spread it piece by piece on the ground between the women and me, … The foremost of the women, who seemd to be the principal, then stepped upon them and quickly unveiling all her charms gave me a most convenient opportunity of admiring them by turning herself gradualy round … She then once more displayed her naked beauties and immediately marchd up to me….”