Sir Joseph Banks (1743 - 1820)
Sir Joseph Banks (1743–1820), an eminent botanist and patron of the natural sciences, owned a watercolour by Girtin, Tattershall Castle, from the South West (TG1031), produced for A Selection of Views in the County of Lincoln (Howlett, 1805). It is to be wondered whether Sir Joseph was conscious of the impetus that he had given, albeit unwittingly, to the career of the young artist. In 1790 he lent John Thomas Stanley (1766–1850) a series of watercolours he had commissioned from artists following his trip in 1772 to Iceland and these were the source of a series of copies made by the apprentice Girtin, working in the studio of Edward Dayes (1763–1804). Watercolours such as The Great Geysir, Iceland, as It Appeared during Its Eruption to Sir Joseph Banks in September 1772 (TG0004) and Mount Hekla, with Sir Joseph Banks and His Party Descending from the Volcano (TG0005), both dated 1790, offer compelling evidence of the precocious talents of the fifteen-year-old artist.
Tattershall Castle, from the South West
The Great Geysir, Iceland, as It Appeared during Its Eruption to Sir Joseph Banks in September 1772
Mount Hekla, with Sir Joseph Banks and His Party Descending from the Volcano