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Sir Joseph Banks, Bt

1 of 35 portraits of Sir Joseph Banks, Bt

Sir Joseph Banks, Bt, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1771-1773 - NPG 5868 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Joseph Banks, Bt

by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, 1771-1773
50 in. x 40 in. (1270 mm x 1015 mm)
Purchased with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and the Pilgrim Trust, 1986
Primary Collection
NPG 5868


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  • Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), Painter and first President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 1413 portraits, Sitter associated with 38 portraits.

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Banks sailed with Captain Cook to the Pacific on his first voyage aboard the Endeavour, 1768-71, and compiled a unique natural history collection. He held a position of great influence in the scientific world, advising on ventures such as the Kew Botanic Gardens and the first British colonies in Australia. Banks sat to Reynolds in 1772 and again, after his voyage to Iceland, in 1773, and the freestanding globe in this portrait refers to his travels in search of botanical studies. The inscription on the letter reads CRAS INGENS ITERABIMUS AEQUOR, which may be translated as 'tomorrow we'll sail the vasty deep again'.

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