Basilius Besler: Hortus Eystettensis

by Klaus Walter Littger

Taschen America Llc | June 15, 2015 | Hardcover

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A magnificent pictorial document of the flowers grown in the greatest German garden of its time, the Hortus Eystettensis is in a class of its own when it comes to the variety and range of flowers engraved. Founded in 1355, Willibaldsburg Castle was rebuilt as an imposing Renaissance palace with a spectacular garden divided into eight zones on different levels by Prince-Bishop Johann Konrad von Gemmingen (1593/95–1612).

Von Gemmingen enlisted Basilius Besler (1561–1629), an apothecary from Nuremberg, to capture the glory and diversity of his garden in a book containing 367 copperplate engravings—a comprehensive work that ranks to this day among the great treasures of botanical literature. Besler’s Hortus Eystettensis, published in 1613, is organized according to the four seasons; following the classification system used today, the plants in the catalog belong to 90 families in total and cover 340 genera, some of which are represented by several species. Carl Linnaeus, the legendary 18th-century botanist and zoologist, described Besler’s book as an “incomparable work.” The book has survived centuries longer than the gardens; they were destroyed by invading Swedish troops in 1634. However, in 1998 a reconstruction of the original garden opened to the public in Eichstätt.

This XXL-sized facsimile’s painstaking reproductions are taken from a very well preserved hand-painted edition, one of only a few still extant, owned by the university library of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt.

In auction, the asking price for a first-edition copy is half a million dollars. You can now enjoy its unique qualities for considerably less.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 464 pages, 17.3 × 14 × 0.98 in

Published: June 15, 2015

Publisher: Taschen America Llc

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 3836547163

ISBN - 13: 9783836547161

Found in: Art and Architecture

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– More About This Product –

Basilius Besler: Hortus Eystettensis

by Klaus Walter Littger

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 464 pages, 17.3 × 14 × 0.98 in

Published: June 15, 2015

Publisher: Taschen America Llc

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 3836547163

ISBN - 13: 9783836547161

From the Publisher

A magnificent pictorial document of the flowers grown in the greatest German garden of its time, the Hortus Eystettensis is in a class of its own when it comes to the variety and range of flowers engraved. Founded in 1355, Willibaldsburg Castle was rebuilt as an imposing Renaissance palace with a spectacular garden divided into eight zones on different levels by Prince-Bishop Johann Konrad von Gemmingen (1593/95–1612).

Von Gemmingen enlisted Basilius Besler (1561–1629), an apothecary from Nuremberg, to capture the glory and diversity of his garden in a book containing 367 copperplate engravings—a comprehensive work that ranks to this day among the great treasures of botanical literature. Besler’s Hortus Eystettensis, published in 1613, is organized according to the four seasons; following the classification system used today, the plants in the catalog belong to 90 families in total and cover 340 genera, some of which are represented by several species. Carl Linnaeus, the legendary 18th-century botanist and zoologist, described Besler’s book as an “incomparable work.” The book has survived centuries longer than the gardens; they were destroyed by invading Swedish troops in 1634. However, in 1998 a reconstruction of the original garden opened to the public in Eichstätt.

This XXL-sized facsimile’s painstaking reproductions are taken from a very well preserved hand-painted edition, one of only a few still extant, owned by the university library of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt.

In auction, the asking price for a first-edition copy is half a million dollars. You can now enjoy its unique qualities for considerably less.

About the Author

The authors:
Klaus Walter Littger is head of the manuscript department at Eichstätt University Library. In addition to essays on German language and literature, he has published a number of papers on the history of the University of Eichstätt and the history of music at Eichstätt. He is editor of a periodical and a series of publications on the history of Eichstätt.

Werner Dressendörfer is a pharmaceutical historian and academic librarian. He taught at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, where he was an honorary professor. His particular spheres of interest are the history of the Early Modern herbal, the cultural history of useful and medicinal plants, and plant symbolism in art. He has published extensively on pharmaceutical and botanical history.