Joseph Banks (1743-1820) was a naturalist aboard James Cook's ship the "Endeavour" in 1769 when it sailed to Tahiti among many other places. Banks was a wealthy young man with a taste for adventure, and also a passionate amateur naturalist who, while neglecting his studies at Eton and Oxford, began to amass an invaluable natural history collection.
In 1767 Banks learned that the Royal Society had chosen James Cook to lead a voyage of exploration to the South Pacific. Among his accomplishments, tattooing was assigned its name from the Tahitian term Ta'Tatau, as the Tahitians referred to it based on the tapping noise of the instruments used. A well known quote from his journal at the time reads,
- I shall now mention their method of painting their bodies or "tattow" as it is called in their language. This they do by inlaying the color black under their skins in such a manner as to be indelible; everyone is marked thus in different parts of his body according maybe to his humor or different circumstances of his life.