Picturing the Pacific: Joseph Banks and the shipboard artists of Cook and Flinders

Picturing the Pacific: Joseph Banks and the shipboard artists of Cook and Flinders

by James Taylor


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For over 50 years between the 1760s and the early 19th century, the pioneers who sailed from Europe to explore the Pacific brought back glimpses of a new world in the form of oil paintings, watercolors and drawings—a sensational view of a part of the world few would ever see. Today these works represent a fascinating and inspiring perspective from the frontier of discovery.

It was Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society, who popularized the placement of professional artists on British ships of exploration. They captured striking and memorable images of everything they encountered: exotic landscapes, beautiful flora and fauna, as well as remarkable portraits of indigenous peoples. These earliest views of the Pacific were designed to promote the new world as enticing, to make it seem familiar, to encourage further exploration and, ultimately, British settlement.

Drawing on both private and public collections from around the world, this lavish book collects oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, prints and other documents from those voyages, and presents a unique glimpse into an age where science and art became irrevocably entwined.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781472955432
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 11/20/2018
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,157,585
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Due to his doctoral research into the work of William Westall, the landscape and figure painter who accompanied Commander Matthew Flinders on his groundbreaking voyages in the wake of Captain Cook, James Taylor was a consultant for the Pacific Encounters permanent gallery at the National Maritime Museum. He is also the author of Voyage of the Beagle and Pack Up Your Troubles, both published by Bloomsbury.

Table of Contents

Foreword 6

Acknowledgements 7

Introduction 8

Chapter 1 Art And Illustration of Pacific Exploration: Joseph Banks' experience of the South Seas, encouragement of voyager artists and role in the expedition publications 12

Chapter 2 Exploration Networks and Pacific Research Centre's: Joseph Banks' family background, social and professional connections, London residences and interest in art for a practical purpose 66

Chapter 3 Picturing The Pacific and Classical Antiquity: Joseph Banks' membership of the Society of Dilettanti, his passion for neoclassicism and its impact on voyager art 96

Chapter 4 First Australian Artwork: Joseph Banks' role in Matthew Flinders' Investigator voyage and the creation and exhibition of the earliest landscape in Europe 148

Chapter 5 Painting Around Australia: Joseph Banks' role in the creation of the first series of oil paintings of Term Australia 184

Chapter 6 Promoting Australia In Pictures: Joseph Banks' encouragement of the voyager artist William Westall and his involvement with free settlement in south Australia 232

Conclusion 252

Index of Artworks and Artists 253

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