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Sydney Parkinson Collection

Sydney Parkinson: A Botanical Explorer's Legacy Sydney Parkinson, a renowned botanical artist of the 18th century

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Banksia integrifolia, coastal banksia

Banksia integrifolia, coastal banksia
Finished watercolour by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Gardenia taitensis, Tahitian gardenia

Gardenia taitensis, Tahitian gardenia
Finished watercolour by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771. Illustration annotated Gardenia florida

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Eucalyptus crebra, narrow leaved ironbark tree

Eucalyptus crebra, narrow leaved ironbark tree
Finished watercolour by Fred Polydore Nodder from an original outine drawing by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Metrosideros excelsa, Christmas tree

Metrosideros excelsa, Christmas tree
Finished watercolour by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Banksia serrata, old man banksia

Banksia serrata, old man banksia
Finished watercolour by John Frederick Miller from an original outline drawing by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Piper methysticum, kava

Piper methysticum, kava
Finished watercolour by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771. Illustration annotated Piper inebrians

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Corynocarpus laevigatus, karaka tree

Corynocarpus laevigatus, karaka tree
Finished watercolour by John Frederick Miller from an original outline drawing by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Marsdenia mollissima

Marsdenia mollissima
Finished watercolour by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771. Illustration annotated Cynanchum crassifolium

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Correa alba, white correa

Correa alba, white correa
Finished watercolour by James Miller from an original outline drawing by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Tribulus cistoides, Jamaican feverplant

Tribulus cistoides, Jamaican feverplant
Finished watercolour by unknown artist from an original outline drawing by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Maoris in a war canoe in front of a pa on an arched rock in New Zealand

Maoris in a war canoe in front of a pa on an arched rock in New Zealand. The fortified village or pa is atop
FLO4624432 Maoris in a war canoe in front of a pa on an arched rock in New Zealand. The fortified village or pa is atop the perforated rock at Tolaga

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Women dancing the heiva or hula dance to drum and pipe music in a house on Raiatea island

Women dancing the heiva or hula dance to drum and pipe music in a house on Raiatea island
FLO4624566 Women dancing the heiva or hula dance to drum and pipe music in a house on Raiatea island. Handcoloured copperplate engraved by Sasso after Giovanni Battista Cipriani

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Captain Cook having been shipwrecked in his voyage round the world has the Endeavour

Captain Cook having been shipwrecked in his voyage round the world has the Endeavour
5320674 Captain Cook having been shipwrecked in his voyage round the world has the Endeavour repaired in a harbour on one of the Hope Islands, c.1786 (engraving) by Parkinson

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: A Maori fortified look out point in New Zealand, combined with Maori War Canoe

A Maori fortified look out point in New Zealand, combined with Maori War Canoe
810356 A Maori fortified look out point in New Zealand, combined with Maori War Canoe, 1820s-30s (hand-coloured aquatint) by Italian School

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Macropiper excelsum, kawakawa pepper tree

Macropiper excelsum, kawakawa pepper tree
Finished watercolour by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771. Illustration annotated Piper myristicum

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Benincasa hispida, wax gourd

Benincasa hispida, wax gourd
Finished watercolour by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771. Illustration annotated Cucurbita pruriens

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Hibiscus tiliaceus, sea hibiscus

Hibiscus tiliaceus, sea hibiscus
Finished watercolour by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771. Illustration annotated Hibiscus tricuspis

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Ceriops tagal, yellow mangrove tree

Ceriops tagal, yellow mangrove tree
Outline drawing by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage, 1768-1771. Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Nothofagus betuloides

Nothofagus betuloides
Finished watercolour by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771. Illustration annotated Betula antarctica

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Pimelea prostrata, strathmore weed

Pimelea prostrata, strathmore weed
Finished watercolour by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771. Illustration annotated Pimalea laevigata

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Butterwort (Pinguicula antarctica), 1769 C016 / 5135

Butterwort (Pinguicula antarctica), 1769 C016 / 5135
Butterwort (Pinguicula antarctica), 18th-century artwork. Finished watercolour drawn in 1769 by British artist Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Sea cabbage (Senecio candidans), 1769 C016 / 5134

Sea cabbage (Senecio candidans), 1769 C016 / 5134
Sea cabbage (Senecio candidans), 18th-century artwork. Finished watercolour drawn in 1769 by British artist Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Wild pea (Vigna adenantha), 1769 C016 / 5130

Wild pea (Vigna adenantha), 1769 C016 / 5130
Wild pea (Vigna adenantha), 18th-century artwork. Finished watercolour drawn in 1769 by British artist Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771) on Captain James Cooks first voyage to the Pacific (1768-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Cordyline fruticosa, 1769 C016 / 5133

Cordyline fruticosa, 1769 C016 / 5133
Cordyline fruticosa, 18th-century artwork. Finished watercolour drawn in 1769 by British artist Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771) on Captain James Cooks first voyage to the Pacific (1768-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Luffa cylindrica, 1769 C016 / 5131

Luffa cylindrica, 1769 C016 / 5131
Luffa cylindrica (var. leiocarpa), 18th-century artwork. Finished watercolour drawn in 1769 by British artist Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Sea spurge (Euphorbia glauca) C016 / 5129

Sea spurge (Euphorbia glauca) C016 / 5129
Sea spurge (Euphorbia glauca), 18th-century artwork. Finished watercolour by Fred Polydore Nodder from an original outline drawing made by British artist Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Scarlet clianthus (Clianthus puniceus) C016 / 5128

Scarlet clianthus (Clianthus puniceus) C016 / 5128
Scarlet clianthus (Clianthus puniceus), 18th-century artwork. Finished watercolour drawn by British artist Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771) on Captain James Cooks first voyage to the Pacific (1768-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Scentless geranium (Pelargonium inodorum) C016 / 5127

Scentless geranium (Pelargonium inodorum) C016 / 5127
Scentless geranium (Pelargonium inodorum), 18th-century artwork. Finished watercolour by Fred Polydore Nodder from an original outline drawing made by British artist Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Pepisang (Uvaria littoralis), 1782 C016 / 5126

Pepisang (Uvaria littoralis), 1782 C016 / 5126
Pepisang (Uvaria littoralis), 18th-century artwork. Finished watercolour by Fred Polydore Nodder (1782) from an original outline drawing made by British artist Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Dagger hakea (Hakea teretifolia) C016 / 5124

Dagger hakea (Hakea teretifolia) C016 / 5124
Dagger hakea (Hakea teretifolia), 18th-century artwork. Finished watercolour by an unknown artist from an original outline drawing made by British artist Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Old man banksia (Banksia serrata), 1773 C016 / 5125

Old man banksia (Banksia serrata), 1773 C016 / 5125
Old man banksia (Banksia serrata), 18th-century artwork. Finished watercolour by John Frederick Miller (1773) from an original outline drawing made by British artist Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Lechenaultia filiformis, 1782 C016 / 5122

Lechenaultia filiformis, 1782 C016 / 5122
Lechenaultia filiformis, 18th-century artwork. Finished watercolour by Fred Polydore Nodder (1782) from an original outline drawing made by British artist Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Deplanchea tetraphylla, 1778 C016 / 5123

Deplanchea tetraphylla, 1778 C016 / 5123
Golden bouquet tree (Deplanchea tetraphylla), 18th-century artwork. Finished watercolour by Fred Polydore Nodder (1778) from an original outline drawing made by British artist Sydney Parkinson

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Sea bean (Mucuna gigantea), 1777 C016 / 5121

Sea bean (Mucuna gigantea), 1777 C016 / 5121
Sea bean (Mucuna gigantea), 18th-century artwork. Finished watercolour by Fred Polydore Nodder (1777) from an original outline drawing made by British artist Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Sydney Parkinson, Scottish artist C016 / 5040

Sydney Parkinson, Scottish artist C016 / 5040
Sydney Parkinson (1745-1771), Scottish artist. Parkinson travelled on and died during Captain James Cooks first voyage around the world (1768-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Sydney Parkinson, Scottish artist C016 / 5010

Sydney Parkinson, Scottish artist C016 / 5010
Sydney Parkinson (1745-1771), Scottish artist. Parkinson travelled on and died during Captain James Cooks first voyage around the world (1768-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Denrobium orchid, 18th century C013 / 6235

Denrobium orchid, 18th century C013 / 6235
Denrobium orchid. 18th-century artwork of the orchid Denrobium crumenatum. This artwork (watercolour on vellum) is by the British artist Sydney Parkinson (c.1745-1771)

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: A7 / 361a Ficus racemosa, fig

A7 / 361a Ficus racemosa, fig
Finished watercolour by F. P. Nodder from an original outline drawing by Sydney Parkinson made during Cooks first voyage, 1768-1771

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Denrobium crumenatum, orchid

Denrobium crumenatum, orchid
Watercolour on vellum by Sydney Parkinson (1745-1771). Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Alphitonia zizyphoides, toi

Alphitonia zizyphoides, toi
Finished watercolour by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Cochlospermum gillivraei, kapok tree

Cochlospermum gillivraei, kapok tree
Outline drawing by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage, 1768-1771. Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Cordia subcordata, kou tree

Cordia subcordata, kou tree
Finished watercolour by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771. Illustration annotated Cordia sebestena

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Chromis chromis, damselfish

Chromis chromis, damselfish
Ff. 29b Vol 2. Watercolour painting by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage to explore the southern continent 1768-1771

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Leptospermum fabricia, tea-tree

Leptospermum fabricia, tea-tree
Finished watercolour by Fred Polydore Nodder from an original outine drawing by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Thunnus albercares, yellowfin tuna

Thunnus albercares, yellowfin tuna
Ff. 100 Vol 2. Watercolour painting by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage to explore the southern continent 1768-1771

Background imageSydney Parkinson Collection: Leucopogon ruscifolius, bearded heath

Leucopogon ruscifolius, bearded heath
Finished watercolour by John Cleveley from an original outline drawing by Sydney Parkinson made during Captain James Cooks first voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771



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Sydney Parkinson: A Botanical Explorer's Legacy Sydney Parkinson, a renowned botanical artist of the 18th century, left an indelible mark on the world of botany with his exquisite watercolours. Born in 1745 in the United Kingdom, he embarked on a journey that would forever change our understanding of plant life. One of Parkinson's notable works includes capturing the beauty of Banksia integrifolia, commonly known as coastal banksia. His delicate strokes brought to life its intricate flowers and unique foliage, showcasing nature's artistry. Similarly, he immortalized Gardenia taitensis or Tahitian gardenia with his brushstrokes, revealing its fragrant white blossoms. Parkinson also documented Eucalyptus crebra, a majestic narrow-leaved ironbark tree native to Australia. His detailed illustrations highlighted its distinctive bark and towering presence in the landscape. Another iconic painting by Parkinson depicted Metrosideros excelsa or Christmas tree adorned with vibrant red blooms during festive seasons. Among his subjects was Banksia serrata or old man banksia; through his artwork, this species became etched in history for generations to admire. Additionally, Parkinson captured Piper methysticum or kava plants used for their medicinal properties and cultural significance. His exploration extended beyond flora alone - Sydney Parkinson ventured into documenting landscapes and cultures too. He portrayed Correa alba or white correa alongside a Maori fortified lookout point in New Zealand—a testament to his fascination with intertwining nature and human heritage. In one remarkable piece combining artistry and history, Parkinson depicted Captain Cook's shipwrecked Endeavour voyage alongside a Maori war canoe—an artistic fusion representing two worlds colliding amidst discovery and resilience. Sadly, Sydney Parkinson's extraordinary career was cut short when he passed away at just 26 years old during Captain Cook's expedition to Australia. However brief his time may have been on this earth, his legacy lives on through his remarkable watercolours.