Arthur Harry Church

The anatomy of flowers

David Mabberley

This stunning book uses previously unpublished material from the Library of the Natural History Museum to reveal the fascinating story of Church's life and work.

978 1 85894 116 5
September 2000
290 x 230 mm
128 pp
100 in total, 60 in colour
Merrell Publishers in collaboration with the Natural History Museum


The revolutionary drawings of Arthur Harry Church (1865-1937) are considered some of the finest botanical illustrations of the twentieth century. His mastery of microtechnique lends a startling clarity and razor-sharp edge to the many cross-sections and diagrams of flowers that he produced to accompany his elegant studies. 

Immured in the Botanical Gardens at Oxford, he was in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the most knowledgeable yet least travelled botanist in Britain. An academic recluse, Church considered flowers to be machines for ensuring successful sexual reproduction in plants. 

His clinical attitude belies the freshness and boldness of his spectacular illustrations of their internal structures. His technique and style showed brilliant eroticism and a modernity that were well in advance of his time.

Arthur Harry Church is available to order from our co-publisher Merrell Publishers. For details of how to contact them, please visit Publishing partners.


David Mabberley is Honorary Research Associate at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.