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Flora, seu de florum cultura. Lib. IV.: FERRARI, Giovanni Battista.

FERRARI, Giovanni Battista. Innovatory horticultural techniques and allegorical compositionsb famous Baroque artists

Published by (edited by Bernhard Rottendorff). Amsterdam J. Janssonius (1646)


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From: Hünersdorff Rare Books ABA ILAB (London, United Kingdom)

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About this Item: (edited by Bernhard Rottendorff). Amsterdam J. Janssonius, 1646. Soft cover. Condition: Very Good. 2nd Edition. Flora, seu de florum cultura. Lib. IV. Editio Nova. (edited by Bernhard Rottendorff). Amsterdam J. Janssonius, 1646. 4to. (45) + (1 blank) + 522 + (12)pp. Engraved title showing the personification of Flora with portrait of dedicatee, the Bishop of Osnabrück, on verso, and 45 full-page plates included in pagination with additional separate plate of ‘Arbuscula coralii’ at p381, historiated woodcut capitals. Contemporary vellum with remains of ties. This magnificent horticultural thesis was not only the first of its kind to deal with the contemporary flower garden (rather than as derived from the classical authors), but it was also a most splendid production with engravings sponsored by the Barberini family showing innovatory horticultural techniques and allegorical compositions by famous artists. The four books describe the choice of site and preparation (military technologists were frequently employed in garden planning, and daring earth-moving works conceived; Ferrari names several celebrated contemporary gardens as examples, see also note below). Selected species for planting are then described; they include narcissi, hyacinths, cyclamen, paeonies, carnations, anemones and China roses. Thirdly, planting and cultivation is extensively dealt with referring in particular to the latest methods. Finally, Ferrari details the use of flowers in arrangements, both in the soil and as artistic devices; knowing their various characteristics and qualities, he describes how best to enjoy each kind. The fine plates include 8 of garden designs; each have geometric plots with intersecting paths for ease of cultivation. Several plates show individual flowers (8 are of narcissi) and shrubs; there are also horticultural implements, an ingenious pest deterrent, flower arrangements and cross-sections of vases showing how the stalks can be kept watered by capillary reaction; particularly interesting is the first known illustration of a specially adapted case for transporting cut flowers (Ferrari, p431). These were all designed by the skilled artist Anna Maria Vaiani. The 7 splendid baroque allegorical engravings are by J.F. Greuter and Claude Mellon after drawings by Guido Reni, Andrea Sacehi and Pietro da Cortona; included is the latter’s famous ‘Triumph of Nature over Art’. This second Latin edition is edited by Bernhard Rottendorff, chief physician of Monster, and is dedicated with a long address to the Bishop of Osnabriick. Ferrari’s original dedication to Francesco Barherini, who had financed the illustrations, is also included. Giovanni Battista Ferrari was born in Siena in 1584; he was a member of the Jesuit order, and a teacher, but is chiefly remembered for his two great books on horticulture, the above work and the ‘Hesperides’ (see no 121); he died in 1655. A very good fresh copy, with only faint toning to one or two leaves. The earlier Latin and Italian editions (1633 and 1638) are invariably substantially browned due to the poor quality of paper used. Nissen 620. Pritzel 2877. See Georgina Masson, ‘Italian Flower Collectors’ Gardens in Seventeenth Century Italy’ in The Italian Flower Garden (edited by David Coffin), Dumbarton Oaks, 1972, pp72-80, on the garden of Francesco Caetani (Duke of Sermoneta) near Cisterna, which the author describes as ‘of particular interest because, in his gardening book, Ferrari singled it out as a perfect example of contemporary planting. Furthermore, a section of the main parterre at Cisterna is the only (illustration) of an existing garden to appear in a book’ (Ferrari, p217). The same article gives extensive details of the carefully devised planting as documented in the Cactani archival manuscripts. Additionally, David Coffin in Gardens and Gardening in Papal Rom’, 1991, pp 175-8, confirms the importance of Ferrari’s ‘major Roman horticultural treatise’. He points out that ‘the ‘new invention’ of edging (compartments) with bricks (pianelle)’ favoured by Ferrari was used at the Caetani garden, and ‘each. Seller Inventory # ABE-8982362128

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Flora, seu De Florum Cultura Lib. IV.: Ferrari, Giovanni Battista;

Ferrari, Giovanni Battista; Bernhard Rottendorff

Published by Jan Janszoon (apud Joannem Janssonium) (1646)


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From: Pryor-Johnson Rare Books (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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About this Item: Jan Janszoon (apud Joannem Janssonium), 1646. Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Bound in contemporary full vellum with yapp edges. Six cords visible at hinges. On spine, pasted orange hand-written title-piece (Ferrarius. s.j. / Flora.). Edges of text-block stained red. Fore-corners slightly bumped, yapp edges slightly soiled. Patches of light soiling to covers and to top and bottom edges of covers. Splits to front and rear paste-downs. Plate opp. p. 125 misprinted as 119; p. 123 (engraving of narcissus bulb and leaves) pasted over. As in other copies, there is an added plate between Aa6 and Aa7 (numbered 381, opposite p. 381). Edge-stains dark and even. On the front paste-down, a smudge of the red pigment from the edge-stain. Almost entirely devoid of foxing and tanning. Engravings crisp and vivid. A bright, tight, unsophisticated copy. At the lower fore-corner of the frontispiece, old ownership stamp of the Lyons Jesuit College (Lugdunensis Soc. Jesu), and, at the upper edge of the front paste-down, their (presumably) shelf-mark (1f –175B 2, 248). Quarto in 8s (9 1/4" x 7 1/4", 236mm x 184mm). π2 (?)4 *-4*4 5*2 A-Ii8 Kk6 Ll4 Mm2 (Mm2 blank), blank [$4 (–(?)4, ?4, 2?4, 3?4, 4?4, A1, D4, G1, P4, Kk4, Ll4; N4 missigned as "4. N.", O3 missigned as "G 3"]; 285 leaves (including plates) + 1 additional plate; pp. [48], 522, [12]. Collated perfect with Bayerische Staatsbibliothek copy (Res/4 Oecon. 124). Ferrari (1584-1655), a Sienese Jesuit, was Professor of Hebrew and of Rhetoric at the Jesuit College in Rome, and at the same time advisor to the pope on the Vatican gardens and to Cardinal Francesco Barberini, whose Horti Barberini were the laboratory of this endeavor. The fruit of this learning is this four-book treatise ranging from the tools of the gardener to the morphology of flowers, the layout of gardens and the arrangement of flowers in a vase. The work is a milestone both in the breadth of its treatment of interest in flowers, as well as marking the standards of Italian taste in the early seventeenth century. Notably, the work features the first ever botanical illustration based on microscopy (Ii2r, p. 499). No book had ever been so systematic in its analysis of flowers. The first edition was published Rome 1633, and is rather scarce. 1638 saw translation of the work into Italian (as Flora overo cultura di fiori ). This 1646 edition, which declares itself to be a "new edition, refined by Berhnard Rottendorf", is nearly identical to the 1633 edition, the pagination even lining up (save minor alterations such as the replacement of "v" with "u"). The major addition is a 36-page dedicatory letter from Bernhard Rottendorff (1594-1671), a Jesuit medical doctor and chamberlain to the Archbishop of Cologne, to Count Franz Wilhelm von Wartenburg, Bishop of Osnabrück. The plates have, I believe, been re-cut, the original artists’ names having also been removed. The plates are continuous in pagination (i.e., integral with the text), and some retain their deckled fore-edge, suggesting very minimal trimming. Coffin, David. Gardens and Gardening in Papal Rome, 175-8. Ibid. The Italian Flower Garden, 72-80. Masson, Georgina. Italian Flower Collectors’ Gardens in Seventeenth Century Italy.Nissen 620, Pritzel 2877. Seller Inventory # 4112

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