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The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume One]



All the illustrations of the journal are taken from drawings—water colour, wash, pen or pencil—by Sydney Parkinson, unless otherwise specified. Most of the originals, when unsigned, can be attributed with a fair amount of confidence.

The topographical and ethnographical drawings are preserved in the British Museum, Department of Manuscripts, Add. MSS 9345, 15508, 23920 and 23921. The only ones not done on the spot during the voyage appear to be those which John Frederick Miller, one of the artists Banks maintained in London, made of the artifacts brought home. They are very carefully and precisely done.

The botanical and zoological drawings are in the British Museum (Natural History), South Kensington, bound up in volumes, 18 in the Botanical Library, 3 in the Zoological Library. Of the botanical volumes there are the following: Madeira 1, Brazil 1, Tierra del Fuego 1, Society Islands (including Tahiti) 3, New Zealand 4, Australia 7, Java 1. The Society Islands volumes are wrongly named on the spine as ‘Friendly Islands’. The zoological volumes are (as named on the spine) 1 Mammalia. Aves. Amphibia, 2 Pisces, 3 Insecta, Vermes. But there are fish in the first volume. The birds have been fully described in Averil Lysaght's excellent Some Eighteenth Century Bird Paintings in the Library of Sir Joseph Banks (British Museum [Natural History] Bulletin, Hist. Series, Vol. I, No. 6, London 1959).

During the earlier part of the voyage Parkinson, by working extremely hard, was able to finish his coloured drawings of plants, though not of zoological subjects; and some of both sorts are quite exquisite. By the time the New Zealand collections came on board, however, he could not keep up, and on the Australian coast he was overwhelmed. He was, it must be remembered, acting also as topographical draughtsman, mainly in wash, and doing the best he could for the figure. Some of his figure drawings, of course, are appallingly amateurish, though they have considerable value outside the artistic; but he could also rise to his Maori heads. The plan he adopted with the plants was to make pencil outlines, add a little colour to indicate the key, and make notes on the back for his guidance in finishing the work later. An example of this is Pl. 16a in Vol. II, Crepis novae-zelandiae. He sometimes was able to make a second, finished drawing himself, but not often. In the end it was Banks's other botanical draughtsmen, Frederick Polydore Nodder, John Frederick page xiv Miller, James Miller, and James Cleveley, who in England, over a long period of years, executed the finished water colour drawings, always sticking closely to Parkinson. The work of Nodder is particularly rich. On the back of the unfinished drawings, now bound up with the finished ones, Banks usually himself noted where the plant was found. As the actual plants in their hundreds are still preserved in the Banks herbarium at South Kensington, and Solander's careful descriptions still survive among the MSS there, we have thus a very complete record. It was from the finished drawings that the engravings were made for the great botanical work that Banks failed to publish. The engravings are bound up with the drawings, which they reverse. All the reproductions in the present volumes are from the finished water colours, unless otherwise indicated.

Captions to the plates, where the subjects are botanical or zoological, give the accepted modern scientific names, with the popular or native ones, when known. The other captions follow those of the originals; if it has been necessary to supply one, it has been placed within square brackets. The notes give the source of the individual plate, and whatever information about it seems useful or relevant. Apart from Parkinson and Banks, it is not always easy to identify the writers of notes on the back or the mounts of drawings, though with the differing botanical names one may certainly suspect both Robert Brown and, more recently, Britten, who edited the lithographed edition of the Australian engravings, 1900–5. The sizes given for the botanical and zoological drawings are those of the drawings themselves at their maximum extent; those for the topographical and miscellaneous drawings are the sizes of the sheets on which they are made as now bound up—where they are mounted, between the edges of the mount. Exceptions are noted.

The plates are arranged in roughly chronological order, except for the botanical ones, which form a sort of unity. Departures from either rule are made to avoid oddities in presentation.

The small drawings reproduced in the text, but not listed here, are from Banks's own illustrations in the manuscript.

The sketch-maps have been drawn by Miss Valerie Scott and Mr Bruce Irwin. By kind permission of the President and Council of the Hakluyt Society, they have been adapted from those in the Society's edition of the Journals of Captain James Cook.