Between the 1760s and early 1800s, explorers who sailed from Europe to the Pacific would bring back glimpses of the landscapes they had seen in the form of oil paintings, watercolors and drawings. The person who promoted the use of professional artists on British ships was Sir Joseph Banks, president of the Royal Society. The artists captured flora and fauna and created paintings of indigenous people. These artistic views promoted the New World as a rich, enticing place worthy of British settlement. There are 256 pages of this artwork in James Taylor’s Picturing the Pacific, which draws on private and public collections of oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, prints and historical documents.
($25, Adlard Coles)
This article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue.