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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Joseph Banks and Dr Solander, 1778

an unknown artist (engraver)

engraving on paper (sheet: 20.5 cm x 13.0 cm, plate-mark: 17.6 cm x 11.4 cm)

Daniel Solander (1733–1782), naturalist, was a student of Carl Linnaeus, the Swede who devised and systemised the classification of plants and animals used today. Arriving in London from Sweden in 1760, Solander became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1764 and began cataloguing plants at the British Museum. Not long after, he became known to Joseph Banks, and in 1768 he and Banks together applied to the King to obtain berths on James Cook’s Endeavour. Having barely survived the dysentery that killed many of the Endeavour’s crew, Solander returned to England to be fêted along with Banks for his scientific achievements. When Banks withdrew from Cook’s second voyage, Solander followed suit; the pair went to Iceland and the Western Isles before Solander settled into the role of Banks’s librarian and curator in London. Though he produced some significant treatises – including the first scientific account of the kangaroo – he gained a reputation for partying at the expense of cataloguing specimens. He grew corpulent and became a target for satire, and his scientific achievements went largely unrecognised in his lifetime. The first book–length biography of Solander was published in 1998.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Gina and Ted Gregg 2010

Accession number: 2010.156

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Sir Joseph Banks KCB (age 35 in 1778)

Daniel Solander (age 45 in 1778)

Donated by

Loretta Pash (40 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Sir Joseph Banks, c. 1788 Benjamin West, John Raphael Smith
Sir Joseph Banks, c. 1788 Benjamin West, John Raphael Smith
Sir Joseph Banks, c. 1788 Benjamin West, John Raphael Smith
Sir Joseph Banks, c. 1788 Benjamin West, John Raphael Smith

In a good paddock

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2011

Celebrating a new painted portrait of Joseph Banks, Sarah Engledow spins a yarn of the naturalist, the first kangaroo in France and Don, a Spanish ram.

Portrait of Dr Johann Reinhold Forster and his son George Forster, c. 1780 Jean Francois Rigaud
Portrait of Dr Johann Reinhold Forster and his son George Forster, c. 1780 Jean Francois Rigaud
Portrait of Dr Johann Reinhold Forster and his son George Forster, c. 1780 Jean Francois Rigaud
Portrait of Dr Johann Reinhold Forster and his son George Forster, c. 1780 Jean Francois Rigaud

To the end of the earth

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

The portrait of Dr. Johann Reinhold Forster and his son George Forster from 1780, is one of the oldest in the NPG's collection.

Portrait of Captain James Cook RN, 1782 John Webber
Portrait of Captain James Cook RN, 1782 John Webber
Portrait of Captain James Cook RN, 1782 John Webber
Portrait of Captain James Cook RN, 1782 John Webber

Thrown together

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Shipmates for years, James Cook and Joseph Banks each kept a journal but neither man shed light on their relationship.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.