Captain James Cook
|Science and natural history on Cook's voyages|
Banks is shown here in his London home in Soho Square, surrounded by objects he brought back from the Pacific on Cook's voyage. He is wearing a cloak made from tapa, the cloth produced by Pacific islanders from the paper mulberry tree. At his feet is a drawing of New Zealand flax – a plant that was thought to be commercially useful.
Banks collected so many new plants in the Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Australia that when he returned he had increased the number of species known to European science by a quarter. Banks was painted shortly after being elected President of the Royal Society, a position he held until his death in 1820.
Parkinson's speciality was botanical illustration. His normal working method was to make sketches of the plants and take notes of their colours, which would allow him to finish the drawings later.
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