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Unfolding the FAO Rare Books collection: Calendar 2019

The Library of FAO contains one and a half million volumes on agriculture and all its related fields among which a remarkable collection of 400 rare books and 32 incunabula. One of its main treasures is Giorgio Bonelli’s “Hortus Romanus”.

Fewer than 300 copies are believed to have been published between 1772 and 1793 - of these, only a limited number were hand-painted in the bold, exuberant style of the eighteenth century. FAO preserves in its Rare Books room a multi-volume folio-size set with stunning botanical prints on sumptuous, thick, handmade paper.

Bonelli provided only a short text to volume one, while the rest of the volumes are by Niccolo Martelli. The owers and vegetables in the plates were painted by Cesare Ubertini and engraved by Maddalena Bouchard.

To open up its beauty to today’s admirers of botany, this calendar reproduces twelve of its most outstanding colour plates of plants, owers and fruits. Painted in the 18th century, but luckily still about to grow and ower in real life in the landscapes around us during the next upcoming twelve months of 2019.

The calendar can be purchased at the FAO shop and bought online at publications-sales@fao.org