Charles Edward Wagstaff (1808-1850) served his apprenticeship as an engraver in London before enjoying a successful career engraving portraits for prominent figures such as Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the Duke of Wellington. His engraving of Sir Joseph Banks was made from a painting of 1810 by Sir Thomas Phillips (1770-1845), portrait painter, a Member of the Royal Academy, who painted many of the important figures of his day. The engraving was published by Charles Knight (1791-1873).
Sir Joseph Banks, Baronet (1743-1820), was born at Argyle Street, London, on 13 February 1743. He was educated by a private tutor before attending Harrow School and Eton. He entered Christ Church, Oxford, in 1760, where he pursued an interest in botany. Banks was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1766, and that year he travelled to Newfoundland to collect plants. During 1768-1771 he journeyed with Cook around the world in the 'Endeavour', making natural history collections, and in 1772 he visited Iceland. He was President of the Royal Society, 1778-1820, and was created baronet in 1781. Banks died on 19 June 1820 at Spring Grove, Isleworth. His collections and library passed to the British Museum after his death.
A print of an engraving by C.E. Wagstaff 'from a picture by T. Phillips in the possession of the Royal Society', published by Charles Knight, London. A note in pencil on the reverse records that the print was 'issued at London 1833'.
A note on the back of the print indicates that it was bought in Sydney and given to the Royal Colonial Institute in 1913.