Joseph Banks’ Florilegium

Botanical Treasures from Cook's First Voyage


A new edition of the prize-winning Joseph Banks’ Florilegium


ISBN: 9780500022870 Category:


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 superlative 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.

Additional information

Weight 1404 g
Dimensions 21.3 x 27.8 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 12 September 2019
Number of pages 320
Format Hardback
Contributors Text by Mel Gooding
Dimensions 21.3 x 27.8 cm
Weight 1404 g


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Professor David Mabberley is a botanist, educator and writer. He is an Emeritus Fellow at Wadham College, Oxford, Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University, Sydney, and Professor Extraordinary at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. Mel Gooding is an art historian, writer, curator and educator. He has written extensively on British art and artists. Joe Studholme co-founded Editions Alecto and undertook the printing of Banks' Florilegium from the original copper plates between 1980 and 1990.