ABSTRACT

Joseph Banks's involvement with collections across the capital, and his connections with various societies, strengthened his reputation as someone able to handle all manner of objects, whether natural or artificial. However, it was Banks's early experiences that set the basic pattern of his later career as a collector, and established his special place in the interrelated fields of travel, natural history and ethnography. Joseph Banks's bequest was the last important service he rendered the Museum, and with it the majority of his private collections had finally passed into public ownership. The British Museum was one place to which more and more objects and specimens were sent from the world's growing empires, yet even its capacity to cope was limited. Bank gave his ethnographic collections en masse to the British Museum, which was rapidly becoming more of a centre for such material than Soho Square.