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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.

Sir Joseph Banks, 1811

William Daniell (publisher) after George Dance

soft ground etching on paper (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
Purchased 2014

Accession number: 2014.54

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

George Dance

William Daniell (age 42 in 1811)

Sir Joseph Banks KCB (age 68 in 1811)

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.