Banks' Florilegium is a collection of copperplate engravings of plants collected by Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander while they accompanied Captain James Cook on his voyage around the world between 1768 and 1771.
Banks' and Solander's specimens were studied aboard the Endeavour by the botanical illustrator Sydney Parkinson. He made 674 detailed drawings of each specimen with notes on their colour, and completed 269 watercolour illustrations before dying of dysentery after the Endeavour left Batavia. When they returned to London in 1771, Banks employed five artists to create watercolours of all of Parkinson's drawings, and 18 engravers to create 743 copperplate line engravings from the completed watercolours at a considerable cost. The engraving work stalled in 1784, and the Florilegium was not printed in Banks' lifetime. On his death in 1820 he bequeathed the plates to the British Museum.
The first complete full-colour edition of the Florilegium was published between 1980 and 1990 in 34 parts by Alecto Historical Editions and the British Museum (Natural History). Only 100 sets were made available for sale. The plates were printed using a 17th-century technique known as à la poupée where each colour was applied directly to the plate; colour accuracy was checked against Parkinson's notes. Each plate took from one week to two months to proof.
Banks’ Florilegium is the world’s largest 20th-century fine art printing project and has been exhibited all over the world.
We are very pleased to have available for sale 7 Parts (150 engravings) of the Alecto Publication relating to the Australian Flora, Edition No 83/100. All will be available in store from November 2019, and online as soon as possible thereafter.