Hortus Eystettensis by Basilius Besler


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Illuminated Facsimiles

Hortus Eystettensis by Basilius Besler

Alternative titles
Eichstätter Garten.
Physical features
Three printed books on paper, dimensions 520 x 435 mm, 734 total pages.
Germany (Eichstätt), 1613.
Johann Konrad von Gemmingen (b. 1561, d. 1612), prince-bishop of the Catholic diocese of Eichstätt in Bavaria, owned a botanical garden – the Bastionsgarten – which he created on the bastions of the Willibaldsburg, a spur castel in Eichstätt. He was a passionate botanist and his garden rivalled the Hortus Botanicus Leiden, among the leading European botanical gardens outside Italy. At the end of the 16th century, he commissioned the Nuremberg pharmacist and botanist Basilius Besler (b. 1561, d. 1629) to make an inventory of the plants growing in the garden. It took Basilius no less than sixteen years of work to produce the Hortus Eystettensis – the full title of which was Hortvs Eystettensis, Sive Diligens Et Accvrata Omnivm Plantarvm, Florvm, Stirpivm, Ex Variis Orbis Terrae Partibvs, Singvlari Stvdio Collectarvm Qvae In Celeberrimis Viridariis Arcem Episcopalem Ibidem Cingentibvs, Hoc Tempore Conspicivntvr Delineatio Et Ad Vivvm Repraesentatio.
Present repository
The specimen covered by this sheet is the Eichstätt copy, today kept at the Universitätsbibliothek Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, under the signature SJ II 2892-2894.
Treatises / Secular booksMedicine / Botany.
The Hortus Eystettensis is a figured herbarium consisting of three volumes. Plants are included from spring to autumn, based on flowering. Each season has its own frontispiece and corresponding index, and each table is accompanied by the corresponding facing text.
366 folio plates, 1084 full-size colour drawings of flowering plants, 5 frontispieces, 1 plate with portrait of Basilius Besler. The Hortus Eystettensis is the most beautiful florilegium of the early 17th century. The hatching, chiaroscuro and shading give the pictures an original perspective and three-dimensional effect, which is essential for plant recognition.
The work was realised by Basilius Besler, assisted by his brother Hieronymus Besler (b. 1566, d. 1632). Johann Konrad von Gemmingen placed a team of artists and engravers at their disposal.
Post-Renaissance. The Hortus Eystettensis marks the definitive transition from woodcut to chalcographic technique.

Data sheet compiled by Illuminated Facsimiles®



Hortus Eystettensis

Publisher – Aboca Museum (Sansepolcro, 2006).
Limited edition – 1450 copies.
Type of reproduction – Full-size colour reproduction of the entire original document. The facsimile reproduces the physical characteristics of the original document as closely as possible, with the aim of substituting it in scientific research and in the libraries of bibliophile collectors.
Material – The paper used was specially manufactured for the production of the facsimile – similar in weight (170 g), texture, colour and 32 mm vergellatura.
Binding – White handmade leather cover, embossed decorations on boards, coloured edges, labels on spine. The binding corresponds to that of the original document as it appears at the present moment. Trimming and composition of the leaves reproduce the profile and structure of the original document.
Commentary – Commentary in Italian, German and English, size 28.5 x 38 cm, hardback with dust jacket, 286 pages, 408 illustrations. Edited by K. W. Littger (Director of the Universitätsbibliothek Eichstätt-Ingolstadt), Alessandro Menghini (Professor of Pharmaceutical Botany at the Università di Perugia), Wolfang Muller Jancke (Professor of History of Pharmacy at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg), Duilio Contin (bibliologist and Director of the Bibliotheca Antiqua Aboca Museum), W. Dressendorfer (botanist and university lecturer).
ISBN/EAN – 9788895642567 (facsimile), 9788895642123 (commentary volume).

Copyright photos Aboca Museum

About The Author

Aboca Museum