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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.

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Thomas Pennant

c. 1790
William Ridley (engraver)

stipple engraving on paper (sheet: 20.3 cm x 12.6 cm, plate-mark: 16.0 cm x 10.5 cm)

Thomas Pennant (1726-1798), Welsh traveller, antiquary, naturalist, and author, visited Joseph Banks in September 1771, shortly after Banks returned from his voyage with Cook on the Endeavour. There, it has recently been suggested, he saw manuscript descriptions of various birds and other animals that had been encountered on the voyage, and acquired some specimens Banks had brought home. Among the Pennant papers in the National Library of Wales are descriptions of thirteen Australian landbird species. These stand as evidence that Banks took more specimens of Australian birds back to England than has previously been realised. ‘It is a strange quirk of history’, says the scholar David Medway, ‘that, today, more evidence in that regard is available from Pennant, who did not go on the voyage, than from Banks who did.’Given Pennant’s relationship with Banks, there has been speculation in the Journal of the Australian National Placenames Survey that Pennant Hills, in Sydney, was named for him.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

William Ridley (age 26 in 1790)

Thomas Pennant (age 64 in 1790)

Subject professions

Science and technology

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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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