Bronze portrait bust of Sir Joseph Banks by Anne Seymour Damer

London, England, AD 1814

Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), the noted botanist and plant collector, travelled to Newfoundland in 1766, and to Iceland in 1772 to study and gather plants. With his librarian, Dr Daniel Solander (died 1782), Banks accompanied Captain James Cook on his first voyage round the world in the ship Endeavour.

Banks was a member of the Society of Dilettanti, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and became President of the Royal Society. The scientific community founded the Royal Institution at his London home, where his herbarium of 23,400 species and his extensive library was open for study. The botanical collections and library were acquired by The British Museum in 1827; the natural history collections are now in the Natural History Museum, and the library forms part of the British Library.

The sculptor Anne Damer (1748-1828) began to work in bronze around 1800. At this time bronze was mainly used for public sculpture and was extremely expensive. The full-face pose, the classical pedestal and the signature in Greek cut into the metal at the back of the collar- 'ANNA EMOPIE DAMER ET' ('Anna Seymour Damer made it') - deliberately echo Greek sculptural traditions.

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More information

Bibliography

A. Dawson, Portrait sculpture, a catalogu (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

Dimensions

Height: 71.000 cm

Museum number

M&ME 1814,3-12,1

MCN11515

Gift of Mrs Damer

Location

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