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Botanical, Art, Garden Flowers, Arena, Set of 4 Framed Antique Prints, Italy, 1767


Filippo Arena (1708-1789) and Mario Cammerari (after)
Four Prints of Ornamental Flowers
Malva, Matricaria, Malus Persica duppl., Plate 39 [Mallow, Chamomile, Persian Apple]
Paeonia, Plate 45 [Peonies]
Papaver, Plate 46 [Poppies]
Tulipa, Plate 60 [Tulips]
from La Natura e Coltura dei Fiori Fisicamente Esposta
[The Nature and Cultivation of Flowers Physically Displayed]
Palermo, Sicily: 1767
Hand-colored engravings
7.75 x 11.75 inches, plate mark
8.25 x 12.25, sight size in mat
9.5 x 14 inches, sheet size approximate
16.25 x 20 inches, matted in gold leaf frame
$5,900, set of four framed

Set of four exquisitely framed lively and highly decorative botanical prints, with rich hand coloring, all in a horizontal format. The treatment of the flowers is almost sculptural, emphasizing their rounded forms. The compositions overall have an informal quality, filling the page with portrayals of garden plants and details. This series of prints was intended to serve as scientific studies for botanists as well as guides for gardeners and horticulturists. They also served as inspiration for decorative arts designers in creating patterns for china, fabrics, wall paper, etc.

Product description continues below.


Filippo Arena was a Jesuit professor of mathematics and philosophy in Palermo. He was interested in the phenomenon of pollination of flowers by insects, which he explored in his work La Natura e Coltura dei Fiori Fisicamente Esposta, published under the name of his nephew, Abbot Ignazio Arena. The work was composed of three volumes — the first on botany and the anatomy and fertilization of flowers, the other two on horticulture, including 60 pages devoted to an in-depth discourse on the creation of a flower garden. The volumes contain a catalog of “noble” species with detailed descriptions of every flower represented in the 65 plates of La Natura. These images were composed by Arena in collaboration with his colleague, painter Mario Cammerari. Many of the renditions of individual flowers were derived from earlier publications, such as Johann Weinmann’s Phytanthoza Iconographia and G.B. Ferrari’s De Florum Cultura.

Condition: Each generally very good with the usual overall toning, light wear, soft creases. Vertical folds, as issued, now flattened. Framed in gold leaf frames with custom marbleized paper and French mats painted with watercolors.


Nissen, Claus. Die Botanische Buchillustration: ihre Geschichte und Bibliographie. Stuttgart:1951-66. 48.

Pritzel, Georg August. Thesaurus Literaturae Botanicae Omnium Gentium. Milan: 1950. 223.

Shejbal, J. “Gli Autori ed Artisti.” Amo Bulbi. (16 March 2004).

Tomasi, Lucia Tongiorgi and Rachel Lambert Mellon. An Oak Spring Flora: Flower Illustration from the Fifteenth Century to the Present Time. New Haven: Yale University, 1997, p. 38.

Additional information


18th Century