This exhibition was intended to mark the 200th anniversary of the death of Joseph Banks (1743–1820) and consider the life and achievements of an Old Etonian whose influence reached round the world during his lifetime. Another worldwide phenomenon, Covid-19, forced a postponement, not just once, but twice.
Banks was an Etonian from 1756 to 1760 and it is said that his love of botany flowered in the meadows by the Thames. The exhibition looked at Banks’s global impact using three main themes: Banks at Eton and his early botanising; Banks as plant hunter on James Cook’s voyage round the world in the Endeavour; and Banks the scientific entrepreneur and promoter of economic botany.
The exhibition showcased artworks and objects from the Eton College Collections alongside loans from the Natural History Museum, the Linnean Society and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.