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Series 13: Correspondence, being mainly letters received by Banks from Francis Masson, 1776-1800, 1805

Number of documents

72

Provenance note

Documents 40 and 69 in this series were previously located at ML MSS 743/2. They were purchased for the State Library from the London dealers Maggs Brothers, in October 1946.

Document 70, previously located at ML A81, is part of an accession of Banks papers purchased for the Mitchell Library from Sotheby's, London, in May 1929.

Document 71 was previously located at ML A78-2. All other documents in this series were previously located at ML A80-1. Together they were purchased in 1884 from Lord Brabourne by Sir Saul Samuel, the Agent-General for New South Wales, and transferred to the Mitchell Library in 1910. They were part of the accession which became known as the Brabourne collection.

Many include small folio numbers written in ink in the top right hand corner in an unknown hand.

It is now not possible to reconstruct Banks' original arrangement, the series has therefore been arranged chronologically.

Background note

Scottish born Francis Masson was one of Sir Joseph Banks' longest serving botanical collectors abroad. His extensive collections, derived from many regions of the world, were destined for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

He left England on board HMS Resolution, James Cook, in 1772, the first commissioned botanist to work in the southern region of Africa. Paid by Kew Gardens, he received all his instructions from Sir Joseph Banks.

After his return from the Cape of Good Hope in 1775 with an extensive collection, he left England again for Madeira in 1776. During the years of his collecting, until 1802, his botanical exploration in the service of Banks and the Kew Gardens included the Canaries, the Azores, the West Indies, the Cape of Good Hope, Portugal and Canada.

In 1805 he was granted permission to return to England.

Subjects: Botanical gardens - England
  Botanists
  Collectors and collecting - Botanical
  Plants - Collection and preservation
  Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew