Joseph Banks' Florilegium Botanical Treasures from Cook's First Voyage

Mel Gooding, David J. Mabberley, Joe Studholme

A compact edition of Joseph Banks’ extraordinary botanical engravings of flora discovered on Captain Cook’s first voyage.

Joseph Banks accompanied Captain Cook on his first voyage around 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 engravings. 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 color was issued under the direction of the British Museum. It is from these prints that the new compact edition of Joseph Banks’ Florilegium is selected, as directed by David Mabberley, who has provided expert botanical commentaries. Art historian Mel Gooding sets the works in context while an afterword by Joe Studholme describes the history of modern printing.

Joseph Banks’ Florilegium is not only a great work of science, but also a major achievement in collaborative Enlightenment art and a volume of outstanding beauty.


Mel Gooding

Text By

Mel Gooding is an art historian, writer, curator, and educator.

David J. Mabberley

Commentaries By

David J. Mabberley is a botanist and writer. He is an emeritus fellow at Wadham College, University of Oxford; adjunct professor at Macquarie University, Sydney; and professor emeritus at the University of Leiden. He is the author of Mabberley's Plant-book: A Portable Dictionary of Plants, their Classification and Uses, now in its fourth edition, and coauthor of Joseph Banks' Florilegium: Botanical Treasures from Cook's First Voyage.

Joe Studholme

Afterword By

Joe Studholme cofounded Editions Alecto and undertook the printing of Banks' Florilegium from the original copper plates.