- Also known as
Sarah Sophia Banks
primary name: Banks, Sarah Sophia
- individual; collector; British; Female
- Life dates
- Collector of prints and printed ephemera, coins, medals and jetons; sister of Sir Joseph Banks (q.v.) with whom she lived for most of her life; bequeathed her collections to her sister-in-law, Dorothea, Lady Banks, who immediately presented them to the BM; they are now divided between the BM and the BL.
For a listing of the main elements of the material in the Department of Prints and Drawings, see the User's Guide; for a complete list see the separate Banks register in the Depatrment of Prints and Drawings; for material in the Department of Coins and Medals see several hand-written registers donated with the coins. A volume in the Department of Prints and Drawings contains various notes, press cuttings, etc., many of which concern funerals and were registered as Y,8...; some note identify persons shown in prints.
About 6,000 trade-cards are kept in a series chiefly from the Banks collection but also including cards from the Franks, Fielden and other collections; they are arranged according to the categories devised by Ambrose Heal (q.v.).
Nine volumes of prints, broadsides, newspaper cuttings, etc. are in the BL, LR.301.h.3-11
Material from the collection is entered on the BM collections database as presented by (D) Dorothea Banks, with previous owner (PO), Sarah Sophia Banks.
In the Department of Coins and Medals, objects from Sarah Sophia Banks have tickets with the letters SSB.
She is said to be the subject of a satire by James Gillray entitled An Old Maid on a Journey, 1804 (BM Sat 10300) but it seems unlikely that he would ridicule such an important client (she owned over 100 prints by Gillray, but not this one); for other portraits see Pincott.
- Her own manuscript catalogue is in the British Library (BL) 460.d.13), with publishers, prices etc., prints 1771-1807 listed on fol. 99ff. (see also 460.g.1); correspondence and papers, BL Add. MSS 6300-6341 and BL Add. MS 32640
Obituary in Gentleman's Magazine, 1st ser., 88/2, 1818, p. 472
Will, 21 Sept 1818
A. Griffiths and R. Williams, The Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum: User's Guide, 1987, pp.82-4
A. Pincott, The book tickets of Miss Sarah Sophia Banks (1744-1818), in The Bookplate Journal, New Series, Vol. 2, No. 1, March 2004, pp. 3-30 (with miniature portrait reproduced on front cover)
See also Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and National Register of Archives.