To Botany Bay and Back: The Worldwide Web of Sir Joseph Banks
Join us for a free talk and exhibition view with curator, George Fussey.
Monday 19th September 6:30-8pm
Joseph Banks was at Eton from 1756 to 1760 and it is said that his love of botany flowered in the meadows by the Thames. The rest, as they say, is history. To mark the 200th anniversary of his death, Eton College has mounted an exhibition to assess 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.
Banks’s role as President of the Royal Society for 42 years, Privy Councillor and scientific adviser to King George III, and de facto director of the Royal Gardens at Kew will all be assessed and the talk will also consider the way in which his celebrity became the subject of ridicule and caricature. The exhibition features cartoons and lascivious satire that even by today’s standards, sails close to the wind. In the words of Patricia Fara, in her book, Sex, Botany and Empire: “More than any other individual, Banks welded together the Three S’s – Sex, Science and the State.”
In the exhibition itself, artworks and objects from the College Collections are presented alongside loans from the Natural History Museum London, the Linnean Society of London, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and private lenders to illustrate Banks’s legacy and help re-evaluate his global impact which arose from the Endeavour voyage.
George Fussey is the Keeper of the Natural History Museum at Eton College and curator of the current exhibition on display in the Tower Gallery: To Botany Bay and Back: The Worldwide Web of Sir Joseph Banks.
This free event has been organised in collaboration with the Windsor Festival and Heritage Open Days.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite
Location: Please report to the Porter’s Lodge, Eton College (SL4 6DW) on arrival. You will then be directed to Election Hall where the talk will take place.
Accessibility: We endeavour to open the collections as widely as possible to audiences of all demographics and abilities. We strive, wherever reasonably practicable within the protected historic fabric of Eton College, to allow everyone to access our facilities for the purposes of attending events, participating in engagement activities and visiting our historic collections. Unfortunately, Election Hall and the Tower Gallery do not have stairless access. Please see our website for further information about accessibility.
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