See associated article Joseph Banks – legacy
Socially he was widely and closely connected to royalty, the wealthy, politicians, and many of Europe’s intellectual elite through both his personal correspondence and affiliation with many societies. Through his obsession with plants, his voyages of exploration, and his honorary Directorship of Kew he was in close touch with eminent explorers, nurserymen, botanists, gardener-botanists, and other scientists.
Following a period of exploration to the seaboard of north-west north America and then to Iceland he then set off round the world as naturalist on the Endeavour with Cook, during which he was the first to view and collect on the east coast of New Holland. Returning to Britain he became honorary ‘Director’ of Kew gardens where he converted the former royal estate into the hub of a vast plant exchange and distribution network for the British empire dedicated to economic botany, converting it into the world’s most vibrant plant-centre for both horticulture and botany.
Though a polymath, it was plants that were his major obsession, dominating his scientific interests. Through his involvement in horticulture, along with economic, descriptive and illustrative botany, he helped to create an era of ‘botanophilia’ – a preoccupation with plants that gripped Europe for about 100 years, a situation that will not be repeated.
Painted by Joshua Reynolds in 1773.
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Early years (1743-1765)
Son of a wealthy Lincolnshire country squire Joseph Banks was born in 1743 at Westminster, London. Both his father and grandfather were members of the House of Commons and in keeping with his social status the young Joseph Banks was educated at home before entering Harrow School at the age of 9, Eton College when 13: then, after a period of illness brought on by a smallpox inoculation, he attended Christ Church College Oxford in 1760 as a gentleman-commoner. At Oxford he evaded the traditional course of classics by studying natural history, even paying a Cambridge botanist, Israel Lyons (who had written a book on the plants of Cambridge), to run a summer school in botany at Oxford in 1764 as compensation for the lack-lustre botanical curriculum presided over by Professor Humphrey Sibthorpe at Oxford.
Banks’s father died in 1761 when young Joseph was 18, bequeathing to his son the Lincolnshire Revesby Abbey estate. However, Joseph moved with his mother to Paradise Row in Chelsea in 1763, leaving Oxford University in 1764 (without a degree) to buy a house at 14 New Burlington Street between Regent Street and Savile Row. Here the illustration of some of his collections was commenced by Georg Ehret and Sydney Parkinson.
During the mid-1760s his time was divided between London, Revesby and Oxford. He now had a steady income from his estates and was able to live the life of a dilettante, indulging his interest in natural science and especially botany. From childhood Joseph had enjoyed the outdoors, roaming the Lincolnshire countryside, following up his botanical interests first in Oxford then London, taking advantage of his locality by visiting the Chelsea Physic garden. When Banks moved with his mother to London their home was situated near the east corner of the Chelsea Physic Garden which became one of his favourite haunts. Here he met Philip Miller who acted as a horticultural mentor, explaining about plant collections and the excitement of introducing new species into cultivation while at the same time introducing Banks to the circle of eminent horticulturists, nurserymen, and collectors of the day among whom were botanist Daniel Solander and well-known proprietor of the Vineyard nursery, James Lee.
Banks also made regular visits to the British Museum where he spent time in the reading room learning more botany, and here at the museum he met and befriended Linnaeus’s pupil Daniel Solander, employed by the Museum to catalogue the collections. Banks was himself a Linnaean striking up a correspondence with the famous botanical classifier Carl Linnaeus in Uppsala, even planning to pay him a visit, although this never eventuated. At this time there was still controversy over the acceptance of the Linnaean system of plant classification. One major dissenter in England was Philip Miller who stubbornly refused to accept Linnaeus’s ‘system’ for many years.
Meanwhile he was also building up his other scientific and social connections. As a well-known and well-connected gentleman-botanist and patron of the natural sciences he was well known in society, even becoming a friend and advisor to King George III. It was this relationship that gave him the opportunity to fulfill one of his greatest life ambitions – to join a voyage of scientific discovery.
Voyage to Newfoundland & Labrador (1766)
In 1766 at the age of 23 Banks’s ambition was fulfilled when, instead o making the usual society ‘grand tour’, he sailed for Canada aboard HMS Niger, under the command of Constantine Phipps, collecting natural history specimens in Labrador and Newfoundland and gaining invaluable experience in the practical difficulties of managing plants and other natural history specimens at sea. He was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society in the same year (he was elected President in 1778). His familiarity with Linnaeus’s work meant that he was able to impress the scientific community by using the Linnaean system to classify the plants and animals that he collected on the voyage.
Cook & the Endeavour (1768-1771)
Having now established his scientific credentials it was not difficult to persuade the Royal Society to appoint him as naturalist on Cook’s Endeavour voyage bound for the Pacific, especially as he was prepared to pay his way. For an account of this voyage see Cook & the Endeavour.
All European society was aware of this voyage, the safe return of Cook and Banks heralding a whirl of social engagements that included audiences with: the President of the Royal Society; America’s Enlightenment advocate Benjamin Franklin; King George III (seeds from the voyage collections were presented to the king when Banks and Solander met with him at Kew); a sitting for what is now his most famous portrait as a young man in his prime, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds as a rich, dashingly handsome adventurer.
In 1772 aged 29 Banks was invited to join Cook’s second circumnavigation of the globe in Resolution and Endeavour. This expedition was commissioned by the British government (advised by the Royal Society) to investigate the possible southern landmass Terra Australis. Banks fell out with the Admiralty over his requirements (generally considered unreasonable, even dangerous) and set of in the Sir Lawrence with Solander on his own expedition to Iceland. In the party was Uno von Troil a Swedish friend of Solander’s who joined the party directly from Paris where he had spent time with French Enlightenment figureheads Rousseau, D’Alembert and Diderot. There was botanising, fishing and examination of the geology of the volcanic Mount Hekla and socializing with the governor and eminent Icelanders. ‘Banks made a point of entertaining all the leading men of Iceland to exquisite meals prepared by his French chef Antoine Douez. The Icelandic guests were amazed by the music of the French horns which accompanied these dinners.’ The stay lasted for 6 weeks.
Banks had recommended Francis Masson (Kew’s first official plant collector) take his place on the Resolution. Masson duly joined the ship to embark at the Cape where he worked diligently for three years.
It was late in the season for plant collecting and the natural history had been recently studied and already published in some depth by Danish scientists. However, Von Troil published a highly popular account of Iceland in 1777 and Solander completed an unpublished list of the plants, animals and minerals. As usual it was Banks’s social influence that carried most weight as he became the British authority on Icelandic affairs, acting as a supportive advocate of Icelanders through the Napoleonic wars.
Banks donated lava rocks used as ballast for the Sir Lawrence as the basis of one of Britain’s first rock gardens (now ‘listed’) which was built at the Chelsea Physic Garden in the summer of 1773.
Honorary Director, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (1773)
By the time he was 30 Banks was formulating a grand vision founded on the botany he so loved – but this was not to be a quaint academic diversion based on the curiosities of natural history: Britain was to be the economic centre of a vast botanical and horticultural network. But to make the idea reality he needed somewhere that would encourage botanical scholars and safely house their herbarium specimens and somewhere that could store and cultivate live plants in vast numbers from all over the world. In the Age of Discovery spices and tulips had demonstrated how plants could dominate the European economy and the commercial potential of the plant kingdom was an opportunity that Banks and Britain were not going to miss.
Since the time of the ancients plants had been treated as the trophies of conquest, brought back to homelands where they provided ornamental diversions as well as delicacies and treats for the dining tables of the wealthy. Banks believed that Kew could become the hub of ‘a great botanical exchange house’. Plants of economic value from Britain’s colonies, including garden gems, could be stored here, propagated and distributed throughout the empire. And, as Wulf points out, the idea was hardly new even in Banks’s time: Miller had proposed growing cocoa in the West Indies and sending West Indian cotton seed to American Georgia where it could be grown on an industrial scale and Linnaeus had indicated the economic merits of a plant exchange with distant lands, attempting to emphasise his point by trying, unsuccessfully, to grow tea in Sweden. Banks had the tenacity and influence to make the vision reality. The story of how he achieved his goal is told in see Imperial botany.
Banks presented his ideas to George III on their regular Saturday walk through the gardens and glasshouses of Kew. Without much persuading the king placed the royal garden at Kew at his disposal. Now, as honorary Director, Banks could mobilize his contacts and plants poured into Kew from round the globe.
Among his impressive scientific correspondents were von Humboldt, who maintained contact with Banks during his long exploration of Spanish America accompanied by botanist Aimé Bonpland in 1799-1804. This trip returned about 5,800 species of plants, most new to science, seed being sent to Banks at Kew. Bonpland, who had first visited England in 1890, was in 1809 employed by Joséphine from 1809-1814, communicating with Banks and asking for an introduction to Lee and Kennedy at the Vineyard, visiting London with Augustin-Pyramus de Candolle. Banks was now aging when Bonpland visited Banks’s herbarium in 1816. Banks had earlier dined with him at Kew and it is clear that Banks made an important contribution to the plant collections at Malmaison.
Home at 32 Soho Square
In 1777 Banks had leased rooms at 32 Soho Square in London later facetiously dubbed the ‘Academy of Natural History’. Here he lived with his sister Sarah Sophia and his assistant Daniel Solander. His sister helped run the household and Solander managed his library and herbarium. Soho Square was to remain his London residence for the rest of his life but in 1779 he acquired a 34 acre estate, Spring Grove, near London at Isleworth, converting the grounds into a display of exotic plants, many collected on his own travels.
Soho Square was an open house, proudly displaying and promoting his botanical treasures from the Endeavour Voyage of 1768 to 1771 to eager visitors who included nurseryman James Lee, Kew Head Gardener William Aiton, and Philip Miller’s successor at the Chelsea Physic Garden, William Forsyth (1737-1804). His herbarium specimens were made freely available to the many visiting botanists who sometimes stayed at Soho Square for several weeks. To act as secretary, herbarium curator, and librarian he employed first his old friend and former pupil of Linnaeus, Daniel Solander, who died in the house of a stroke in 1782 while recounting a tale of their South Sea voyage. Solander was replaced by Jonas Dryander, another Swede and former Linnaean student who also became librarian of the Royal Society and Vice-President of the Linnean Society of London, followed finally by Scotsman Robert Brown in 1810 who remained in the position until Banks’ death in 1820 briefly assisted by John Lindley later, in 1822, an influential secretary of the (Royal) Horticultural Society, being appointed to the chair of botany at University College, London from 1829 to 1860 assisting Loudon in the his massive Encyclopaedia of Plants and known to Australian botanists through his description of West Australian plants collected by James Drummond and Georgiana Molloy.
Brown was bequeathed both the library and herbarium (described by historian William Stearn as the ‘ … richest botanical library and herbarium in Britain‘) which were transferred to the British Museum in 1827 and Brown appointed Keeper of the Banksian Botanical Collection. Banks had a keen respect for the many Scots who figure in the horticultural and botanical history of the 18th century, describing them as having ‘the habits of industry, attention and frugality’.
Specimens were stored in Chippendale mahogany cupboards and included those he had purchased from other botanists including Philip Miller’s massive collection from the Chelsea Physic Garden; the collections of wealthy Dutch banker George Clifford in whose garden and glasshouses Linnaeus had honed his plant skills.
His library was looked after by Solander, Dryander and then Robert Brown. Herbarium collections, manuscripts and drawings passing at Brown’s death to the British Museum forming what was known as the Banksian Department.
His house became an international port of call for scientists, renowned for its breakfasts and dinners. Andrea Wulf describes life at the Soho house as follows: ‘Every Sunday evening Banks opened his house for informal meetings of thirty or so friends and acquaintances; on Thursday mornings, at ten o’clock, he hosted breakfasts in his library – a tradition that he later extended to every day of the week … Presided over by the portrait of Captain Cook that hung above the fireplace, Banks assembled the greatest minds of his age, providing a platform for natural history that was quite unlike the Royal Society in being, as one visitor described it, ‘perfectly free from … ceremony of any sort’. The house was always filled with people, talk and laughter and well known for its ‘breakfasts’ and ‘dinners’.’
(However, because of his request for 12 assistants and his concerns about the seaworthiness of the vessel, Banks did not join the second voyage.)
Banks was a co-founder, with William Forsyth and others, of the Horticultural Society of London which later became the Royal Horticultural Society.
The 19th century saw start of plant breeding, pest control, greenhouse cultivation, acclimatization, plant pathology, in all of which Banks’s presence was felt. ‘Although it was Lindley’s generation [including the legacy of Knight] that made horticultural knowledge systematic, and communicated it systematically, their work was based on foundations laid by Banks and his associates’. Victorians would probably have named among their eminent forbears John Claudius Loudon, Thomas Knight and John Lindley, forgetting that Knight was essentially a Banks protégé and ?Lindley an assistant in his library. Loudon’s connection is more obscure but he did use Banks’s herbarium and acknowledged a debt to Knight. He did publish in the Society’s Transactions, his last paper attempting to trace the arrival and spread of Aphis lanigera in England: which ‘effectively initiated modern plant epidemiology’.
Much of his influence was as a British and international ‘facilitator’. For example, he obtained the services of John Graefer as Head gardener for the King of Naples at Caserta at a time when Italian botanic gardens were in severe decline. The story of John Graefer is characteristic of the movement of high-flying favoured 18th century gardeners under the recommendations of influential men like Banks. John Graefer (1746-1802), a German gardener-botanist nurseryman born in Helmstedt, was trained by Philip Miller at the Giardino Inglese, and published a catalogue of plants at the palace of Caserta, Synopsis plantarum regii viridarii Caserti (Naples 1803). Among Graeffer’s introductions to British horticulture was Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ in 1783 which he recommended as a greenhouse plant. In 1799 he became bailiff of Admiral Horatio Nelson’s estate on Bronte, Sicily, where he was murdered in 1802.
Under Banks’s influence during the reign of George III about 7,000 species were introduced to cultivation from around the world. He was associated with the establishment of a famous rockery at Chelsea Physic Garden, supposedly contributing lava rock from his Iceland collection to encourage the growth of plants that enjoyed such soils. Perhaps this rockery is the forgotten source of inspiration for unsightly but carefully maintained 19th century heritage rockeries protected in the botanic gardens of Melbourne and around Melbourne and the inner city and known as grottos or ‘grotesque rockeries’.
His own garden at Spring Grove contained in its early days a collection of rarities cared for by his gardeners John Smith and Isaac Oldacre but was concerned more with food production, and cranberries in particular.
Scientific description and publication, as well as exposure in the popular press, magazines etc. was, for close to the first 100 years of the colony carried out in Europe. The consequence of this was that the literature and specimens were and still, to some extent, remained the possessions of European countries and it took a formidable personality like Ferdinand Mueller to establish a truly Australian tradition of scientific authorship.
In his early years Banks certainly displayed a youthful aristocratic eccentricity. Among his entourage for the Endeavour in addition to Scandinavian botanists, the Swede Daniel Solander, a former student of the renowned Carl Linnaeus, and the Fin Herman Spöring were four servants (two from Revesby and two negroes), a secretary, two artists and two greyhounds. He had a personal cabin stocked with the latest scientific equipment and an extensive library, all at his own expense to the princely sum of about £10,000 which was considerably more than the official £4,000 allocated by the Admiralty for the entire voyage. Of this personal group only he, Solander, and the two Revesby servants survived the voyage.
A few accounts have described Banks as imperious and autocratic. It can be imagined that a man of his background and obvious determination to get his own way could become overbearing. However, in spite of his education and background as a ‘gentleman’ Banks appears to have mixed well with everyone, getting along well, for example, with someone of the humble-background of Cook on the Endeavour. Perhaps one reason that he was so widely respected throughout society was because ‘throughout his life he was known to express himself in non-refined, country ways. One objection to his election to the Presidency of the Royal Society stated Banks was ‘too common, too ignorant and too vain for the chair of Newton’. He appears to have been equally at home with seamen, nurserymen, his botanical collectors and the rising class of botanical academics.
Respected by all, the great Linnaeus himself suggested that New Holland be re-named Banksia in recognition of Banks’s scientific work. When Matthew Flinders was suspected of spying and incarcerated on Mauritius by the French, Banks worked tirelessly for his release.
For the proposed second voyage, which never took place, he was planning to pay for a party of 16 people including four artists and two musicians (‘French Horn Men’ – perhaps reminiscent of the horns that would accompany Linnaeus on his natural history excursions) with the Great Cabin of HMS Resolution converted into a botanical laboratory and Cooks quarters now reconstructed above. After the alterations were made Cook took the vessel for a test run in May 1772 finding it barely seaworthy. This time practicality won out over style and comfort, the Navy Board ordering the ship returned to its original state. Banks did not receive the news well: a midshipman reported that ‘He swore and stamped upon the Wharfe, like a Mad Man’. Banks withdrew from the voyage and peevishly set off with Solander in HMS Sir Lawrence on his own collecting expedition to the Isle of Wight, the west coast of Scotland and Iceland then, in the following year, headed off to Holland with friend Charles Greville (co-founder of the (Royal) Horticultural Society and after whom the genus Grevillea was named) and then touring South Wales with Solander and landscape painter Paul Sandby.
In her prize-winning book The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession horticultural historian Andrea Wulf provides many insights into Banks the man.
Gradually the impetuousness of his youth mellowed. James Boswell suggested that he was like ‘an elephant, quite placid and gentle, allowing you to get upon his back or play with his proboscis’.
In spite of being in some ways an outsider he remained open minded and accessible, always keen to hear of new theories and possibilities. Like many botanists to this day his passion for plants at times put him on the fringes of society, one day being arrested while suspiciously gathering plants on a common, later protesting that he was ‘carried before a justice as a highwayman’. He was always appreciated for his modesty, Wulf noting that one friend that in spite of his Order of the Bath he had every reason to maintain his dignity and yet he still ‘sprawls upon the Grass kisses Toads and is just as good-humoured a nondescript Otatheitan (Tahitian) as ever!” 
During his life he published comparatively little, perhaps the one major flaw in his ambition being the failure to complete the account of the voyage of the Endeavour, some people suggestinguncharitably that he was just a ‘dabbler’, others that his preoccupation with botany was to the detriment of other subjects and more important matters. He had not graduated from Oxford. He was occasionally lampooned in the press. With his grand vision and wide connections he did not have the luxury of time that is so critical for detailed academic work and publication – though he undoubtedly had the intellectual ability to have published more. Achieving his goals was more about connections and networking (see table).
Banks was sometimes criticized for not being more generous in sharing the plants at Kew which he certainly guarded ferociously, keen that Kew’s collections should maintain their competitive edge on the rest of the world.
Though generally enjoying good health from the early 19th century in his forties he suffered from gout, at first just in winter but by 1805 he could hardly walk although remaining mentally alert, having to attend meetings in a wheelchair. He died on 19 June 1820 in Spring Grove House and was buried at St Leonard’s Church, Heston, Hounslow, being survived by his wife: there were no children.
One of the most astute and popular judgments made by Banks was when, at his inaugural speech as President of the Royal Society, he announced himself ‘free from the Shackles of Politicks’. This he realized would preserve his friendships and give him more persuasive influence over government decisions. In this way he maintained contact with Benjamin Franklin through the American War of Independence and, when France declared war on Britain in 1793 he famously declared that ‘the science of the two nations may be at peace while their Politics are at war’. I have never Enterd the doors of the house of Commons, he wrote to Benjamin Franklin, and so I have escapd a million of unpleasant hours & preservd no small proportion of Friends of both Parties.
When the Royal Navy captured a French ship carrying the Pacific collections of botanist Labillardiere on the D’Entrecasteaux voyage Labillardiere’s specimens were delivered to Banks who, at Labillardiere’s request, left the specimens untouched while using his influence to ensure they were returned to the French botanist along with the request that he (Labillardiere) would one day visit Banks at Soho Square.
One unfortunate lapse, it appears, was for Solander to ignore his former teacher Linnaeus in Uppsala. Solander had promised Linnaeus specimens from the Endeavour voyage but on their return Solander had failed to do this or, indeed, to contact Linnaeus at all. It seems that Banks did not want any of his specimens appearing in Linnaeus’s publications and, sadly, publication of his own illustrated botanical account of the voyage, the Endeavour Florilegium, was a long way off. Linnaeus died in 1778 without ever seeing any of the Endeavour collections. Solander did not attend Linnaeus’s funeral and Linnaeus’s son Carl jr inherited the Linnaean herbarium. Hoping to bring his father’s list of plant species, Species Plantarum, up to date he requested seeing the Endeavour specimens but Banks refused saying he wished to publish the names himself. Carl travelled to work at Soho but was not given access to the Endeavour specimens. When Linnaeus died Banks had offered to purchase the Linnaean herbarium which he desperately wanted, but Carl jr had refused. This too may have influenced his behaviour. Ironically it was Carl jr who, in 1781, named the genus Banksia in his honour. Banks’s much awaited account of the Endeavour voyage was never completed the species he and Solander had collected being described either by other botanists or from later collections by other people.Clearly Banks commanded respect in all circles as people did not appear to resent his wealth, position, or influence. Linnaeus had recommended that New South Wales be named Banksia in honour of its discoverer. His social skills served him well as, on returning from New Holland, it was Banks much more than Cook or Solander, who was feted by London’s intelligentsia and society, addressing gatherings where he would recount tales of the fabulous exotic plants and animals they had encountered, the narrow escapes, the tropical allure and promiscuity of beautiful Tahitian women who did not know about kissing but ‘they lik’d it when they were taught it’ … etc.
Once at Plymouth Cook had sent an express letter to Banks and Solander in London letting them know that the ship was ready to sail. The letter was received as the two men were heading to the opera with Harriet Blosset (a botanical enthusiast under the guardianship of nurseryman James Lee) and her family. It was understood that Banks would return to marry Harriet although there was no official engagement. While Harriet was desperately in love, Banks had confided in a friend that he doubted if matrimony would lead to lasting happiness. Banks, apparently, found it too painful to tell Harriet that he was leaving and consumed rather a lot of alcohol. During Banks’s absence Harriet had withdrawn from London society expecting Banks to contact her on his return, which he neglected to do at first, eventually sending her a note putting off any possibility of marriage. Andrea Wulf points out that ‘London’s high society gorged on the story’ a magazine mocking ‘… Banks’s ungallant behaviour, portraying him as a scientific libertine who explored not only exotic flowers but also the women of every country’. Harriet’s friends insisted that some compensation was required for his cavalier jilting and Banks paid up.
Banks later took up a mistress, Sandra Wells, but in 1779 at age 35 he was prepared for marriage to rich heiress Dorothea Hugesson who was twenty years old and brought with her £14,000. Sandra Wells departed quietly from the scene and Dorothea, according to Solander, proved pleasant company and ‘happily participated in the library breakfasts whenever she was in town’. It was probably best to give the man his space. Andrea Wulf relates how Banks dotingly gave his wife what he regarded as a gorgeous piece of moss to wear as a brooch but she refused to wear it saying that it was boring and unsightly, Banks calling her a ‘Fool that She Likes diamonds better, & Cannot be persuaded to wear it as a botanists wife Certainly ought to do‘.
He clearly had boundless energy and enthusiasm remembered not so much for his detailed science but his broad command of the field and incredible powers of human organization. The Australian Dictionary of Biography describes him as being usually ‘good-humoured and generous, a fluent conversationalist, and selfless in the promotion of science’.
It is clear that Banks and Linnaeus had an ambivalent relationship. Banks had effectively poached Linnaeus’s best student Solander who did not correspond with his old master for many years. Linnaeus had been promised duplicate specimens from the voyage of the Endeavour and Solander had also promised to return to Uppsala and visit Linnaeus after the expedition. No specimens were sent to Linnaeus by either Banks or Solander, probably for fear of Linnaeus publishing names before themselves – a matter of professional pride. In desperation, after his father’s death, Carl (jr) had travelled to London in April 1781 to work at Soho Square hoping to see the Endeavour collections but although he was treated with great respect (he stayed in London for about a year, mostly at Soho Square, enjoying the breakfasts and Solander’s company) the Endeavour collections remained firmly under lock and key. This treatment was perhaps also meted out because Carl (jr) had just refused the highest British scientific honour, an invitation from Banks to become a member of the Royal Society, ostensibly because he could not afford the fees although Banks was perhaps still smarting after Carl (jr), who clearly had none of his father’s botanical genius had, upon his father’s death, refused to sell the natural history collection to Banks.
Strangely, the early lives of the two great men of the expedition, Cook and Banks, epitomise the two major aspects of our human relationship with plants, the commercial and the academic: Cook was raised on a farms in Yorkshire, starting out life as a grocer’s lad, while Banks became fascinated by the wildflowers growing around his school at Eton. By an unusual coincidence, while Cook was establishing his navigational skills charting the coast of Newfoundland Banks was, at the same time, collecting specimens of the island’s natural history.
It is Banks’s name that is generally associated with the botany of exploration in Australia as, with his assistant Solander, he amassed a large collection of natural history specimens.