Swedish botanist Daniel Solander (1733–82) was employed by Joseph Banks to collect and describe plant specimens on Cook's first Pacific voyage, using the new classification system developed by his teacher, Carl Linnaeus.
Banks and Solander returned to Britain 'laden with the greatest treasure of Natural History that was ever brought into one country at any one time by two persons', as naturalist John Ellis wrote to Linnaeus. Made famous by the voyage, they both sat for Wedgwood medallion portraits in 1775. A sociable man, whom writer Fanny Burney called 'a Philosophical Gossip', Solander was a popular figure in London society.
Left: The Wedgwood medallion of Daniel Solander was made in about 1775. Photo: George Serras.
Solander became Banks's secretary and librarian, classifying the vast natural history collections kept at Banks's London home. Between 1773 and 1782, Solander was also keeper of the Natural History Collections at the British Museum. As his teacher had hoped, Solander's work helped make Linnaeus's method of naming living things common scientific practice in Britain.
Right: This portrait of Solander was painted by Johann Zoffany. Solander remained a bachelor all his life. He fell in love with Linneaus's daughter, but she married another man, leaving Solander heartbroken.
Courtesy: Linnean Society, London, UK/The Bridgeman Art Library.
These cartoons, published in 1772, mock Banks and Solander for being fashionable fops.
Courtesy: National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an9283270 and nla.pic-an9283268.