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Sir Joseph Banks
, 1811

by William Daniell (publisher) after George Dance

soft ground etching (sheet: 46.5 cm x 29.3 cm, plate-mark: 27.0 cm x 20.0 cm)

Sir Joseph Banks Bt (1743–1820), naturalist, was President of the Royal Society for more than forty years, from 1778 to 1820. Having returned in 1771 from his voyage with Cook to the Pacific, he was often consulted as British plans for global expansion took shape. From 1788 to about 1810, though Banks held no official post, he was effectively head of Australian affairs in Britain. For this reason, he has often been called ‘the Father and Founder of the Australian colonies.’ Meanwhile, in 1788 he co-founded the African Society; up to 1817 the Society funded several expeditions to chart the course of the Niger, Banks taking a lead role as a consequence of his connections at the University of Göttingen. George Dance the Younger was City of London Surveyor and Architect from the age of 27, responsible for the new Newgate Prison and St Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics, amongst many other structures. However, after 1798 he concentrated on chalk portraits of his friends, including James Boswell, Horace Walpole, Hester Thrale, Joseph Haydn and Sir Robert Smirke. William Daniell spent many years translating Dance’s portraits of eminent characters into soft ground etchings; 72 of Dance’s portraits were engraved and published for popular sale between 1808 and 1814.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2014
Accession number: 2014.54