Giambattista Morandi was an Italian knight employed by the botanical gardens of Castello Valentino in Turin, where he worked as a botanical artist under Vittorio Emanuele II di Savoia.

In addition to writing his famous illustrated work on medicinal plants, Morandi published several other works, including one on calligraphy, in which he discusses current European fonts (e.g. italic, Gothic, Roman, bastard, vegetal) and compares them with more exotic writing models from Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, and Cyrillic. His main interest was nevertheless always botany, and among the remarkable characteristics of his work on calligraphy is the predisposition towards alphabets composed of plants and trees.

Despite being little known in posterity, many of Morandi’s original drawings and manuscripts have survived. While the original drawings for the Historia Botanical Practica are today held by the Natural History Museum in London, the Houghton Library at Harvard University holds the original manuscript for Morandi’s work on calligraphy.