ABSTRACT

Joseph Banks's international contacts in the earth sciences remained strong and productive. He is hard to match in the early nineteenth century as a donor of minerals, and his generosity coincided with a period of growth at the Museum in this branch of natural history, and an increase in its wider study and national importance. This chapter shows how Banks's own work with pioneers in practical geology influenced the organization of collections at Bloomsbury. William Smith, regarded as the father of British geology, dedicated a landmark geological map to Banks, who displayed his maps at Soho Square. The map that Smith dedicated to Banks was the first countrywide geological map ever produced. In July 1816 Charles Konig reported that the Smith collection was of 'Organic remains intended to illustrate the Geology of England', and that Smith was willing to arrange it for the Museum 'in the succession of the Strata in which those fossils are found'.