BESLER, Basil (1561-1629)
[Hyacinths] Hyacinthus candidissimus pleno flore [Hyacinth]; Hyacinthus Orientalis serotinus erectis candidis floribus [Common Hyacinth]; Hyacinthus Orientalis serotinus erectis et coeruleis floribus [Common Hyacinth]; Hyacinthus Orientalis flore cæruleo pleno [Common Hyacinth]; Hyacinthus Orientalis serotinus mixtus [Garden Hyacinth]
Eichstatt: 1613, 1st edition. Hand-coloured engraving. Two expertly repaired tears lower right, expertly retored lower left corner, otherwise, good. Sheet size: 21 x 17 inches.
Basil Besler published "Hortus Eystettensis", the earliest large folio botanical, at Eichstatt near Nuremburg, in 1613. He worked on the drawings for the 374 copper engravings over a period of sixteen years from the plants in the garden of Bishop Johann Conrad von Gemmingen, his patron. Depicted in this florilegium were flowers, herbs, vegetables and "exotic" plants such as tobacco and peppers. Besler and his brothers were familiar with real and alleged medicinal properties of the different plants and hey lived at a time when exotic, new plants were being shipped to Europe from all over the world. The garden that he organized and illustrated for his patron was both ornamental and experimental, and the large book he had engraved after his drawings was unique. The prints, made by a team of master engravers, are strong and exquisitely done.