First Flowers – an exhibition of botanical prints from The Captain Cook Memorial Museum

We are now open and are delighted to welcome you back to the Pannett Art Gallery. Some things may have changed since you last visited.  Please check out the Your Visit section of our website to find out about all the measures we have put in place to keep you safe and to plan your visit.

The exhibition ‘First Flowers: Joseph Banks’ Florilegium’ features beautiful prints showing plants gathered by Joseph Banks on James Cook’s first voyage around the world 1768 – 1771.

What is a florilegium? Who was Joseph Banks? What can we still learn from a record of plants collected 250 years ago? The exhibition explores the answers to these and other questions.

The wealthy young botanist, Joseph Banks, was accompanied on the voyage by Swedish naturalist Daniel Solander and a young, Scottish botanical illustrator, Sydney Parkinson, to collect and record plants. By the end of the voyage they had collected around 30,000 specimens and made around 1000 sketches. Many of these plants had never been seen before by Europeans.

Banks’ Florilegium is a collection of botanical prints illustrating the plants gathered on the voyage.

A selection of these prints from the Captain Cook Memorial Museum’s collection are on display, as well as a botanical book on loan from Whitby Museum, artworks by botanical illustrator Jean Harlow, and a cut paper sculpture by local artist Trish Phillips.

‘Flora and Thread: A tent for Joseph Banks, Daniel Solander and Sydney Parkinson’

Over the last year, the Captain Cook Memorial Museum has worked with local sewing groups and creative stitchers on a project to embroider many of the prints in Banks’ Florilegium. These have been used to decorate a tent, representing the sense of adventure displayed by Banks and his team in their plant collecting, and is on display in the Art Gallery as part of the ‘First Flowers’ exhibition.

Garden Trail

The Cook Museum has worked with Pannett Park and the Friends of Pannett Park to create an historical trail where visitors can discover more about plants in the Park’s gardens similar to those collected by Banks 250 years ago.

“We are delighted to be able to show some of the beautiful prints from our collection and tell the stories of the prints and the plants represented. This is a great chance for people to see the prints first hand and is also a must for anyone with an interest in plants or gardening.”

You can enjoy a virtual tour of this wonderful exhibition on the Captain Cook Memorial Museum website by clicking this link:

First Flowers: Joseph Banks Florilegium
18th May to 17th June 2021
Pannett Art Gallery, Pannett Park, Whitby YO21 1RE
Opening times may be subject to change, please check before visiting.


Clianthus puniceus
Panel from Flora and Thread embroidered tent
Trish Phillips paper sculpture