First Flowers: Joseph Banks Florilegium

From Tuesday 18th May to 18th June 2021

Pannett Art Gallery, Pannett Park, Whitby YO21 1RE

This was a special exhibition undertaken in partnership with the Captain Cook Memorial Museum and formed an opportunity to see more of the magnificent Florilegium prints during the short extended season of the reopened Art Gallery.

While the exhibition has now closed, you are still able to see the exhibition from anywhere in the world by accessing the vitual tour through this link:

The exhibition examined several themes, including what is a florilegium? Who was Joseph Banks? and what can we still learn from a record of plants collected 250 years ago?

The exhibition ‘First Flowers: Joseph Banks’ Florilegium’ featured botanical prints from the Captain Cook Memorial Museum’s ‘Banks’ Florilegium’ collection. The prints depict the plants collected for the first time on Cook’s Endeavour voyage around the world (1768-1771) by Joseph Banks, a young botanist with a passion for plants.

The selection of prints covers most of the places where Banks collected, from Tierra del Fuego on the southernmost tip of South America to the Society Islands (now Tahiti), Australia and New Zealand.

As well as showing the skilful and beautiful engravings, the exhibition described how they were made, the broader context for botanical art in the 18th century and the ongoing value and use of botanical illustration today.

Also on display were artworks by contemporary botanical illustrator Jean Harlow, and a cut paper sculpture by local artist Trish Phillips.  Whitby Museum lent an early botanical book, and the Cook Museum’s community embroidery group created a decorated tent in homage to Banks and his travelling companions, ‘Flora and Thread’.

The Florilegium prints were loaned from the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby which holds a complete set.  The exhibition was supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

A trail is available showing which plants from the Cook voyages are grown in Pannett Park