Besler, Basilius (1561-1629)
Basilius Besler published the “Hortis Eysttensis” in Eichstatt, Germany, in 1613. It was the earliest large folio botanical and most celebrated Florilegium ever published, dedicated to Johann Conrad von Gemmingen, Price Bishop of Eichstatt. It was from the Prince’s remarkable botanical garden containing many exotic imports that many of the illustrations were inspired. Besler worked on the drawings for almost 16 years, and supervised a team of at least 6 engravers. The work depicts over 1000 flowers on 374 copper engraved plates, representing 667 species. This was a feat of publication, on a scale rarely attempted since. The massive size and elaborately produced copper engraved plates certainly make this one of the most ambitious botanical publications in history, even pre-dating Linnaean classification. The first edition was published with two issues, one with descriptive text on the verso, and one without text, the later being the de luxe copies. The de luxe copies, without any text, were meant to be colored. Only a few were colored at the time of publication, and even then were very expensive and hard to find. These prints are exquisitely done, and are among the rarest botanical prints ever published.
Prints from this publication are extremely rare and feature early hand coloring