Botanical Prints from Besler's Hortus Eystettensis
Garden Flowers, Wildflowers, Vegetables, Etc. • 1613 and Later

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Framed Print

Gold-leaf sgrafitto-incised custom frame for a Besler botanical. The hand-made triple French mat has green marbleized paper and watercolor decoration. Price: $750 (Besler print shown in frame not included).

Detail of Besler Botanical

Detail

Detail of Besler Botanical

Detail

Basilius Besler (1561-1629) (after)
Wolfgang Kilian (1581-1662) et al. (engravers)
Botanical Prints
from Hortus Eystettensis
[The Garden of Eichstätt]

Nuremberg: 1613 (1st ed.), 1640 (2nd ed.), 1713 [- c. 1750] (3rd ed.)
Hand-colored copperplate engravings
19.75 x 16.75 inches, sheet, average approximate
18.5 x 15.5 inches, plate mark, average approximate
$1,300 to $4,200 each

Magnificent flower prints from the first great botanical folio. Our selection includes tulips, peonies, roses, iris, daffodils, hyacinths, vegetables, water lilies, and tomatoes. Each species is identified with its Latin name on the print.

The prints were commissioned by Johann Konrad von Gemmingen (c. 1561-1612), Prince-Bishop of Eichstätt, to chronicle his garden through the four seasons, with most of the plants depicted actual size. This garden, which encircled the Episcopal residence, was one of the first of its kind, an inclusive display of shrubs and flowering plants, mostly European, but with some then exotic species from Asia, Africa and the Americas. Basil Besler, a pharmacist and botanist, was retained as an artist to record the glories of the garden. Besler worked on intermittently over a 16-year period, on site or from specimens. A team of at least six engravers faithfully translated Besler’s drawings to copperplates, Wolfgang Kilian chief among them.

Hortus Eysttensis (literally the Garden of Eichstätt), first published in 1613, is a landmark work in the history of botanical art and considered one of the greatest botanical sets ever created. Over 1,000 flowers representing 667 species are depicted on 374 folio size plates. The prints are historically significant on several levels, showing a remarkably large number of tulips and other flower bulbs and chronicling the introduction of exotic species to Germany. The prints survived the gardens themselves, which fell into neglect after von Gemmingen died, and were destroyed by invading Swedish troops in 1634. The copperplates from which the prints were used to print a second and a third edition. They remained at Eichstätt until around 1800 and disappeared several years later. In 1998, a reconstruction of the original garden opened to the public in Eichstätt.

Editions: We offer an assortment of prints from the first, second, and third editions. A superior feature of the first edition is that the details of the strike generally are finer and richer. An advantage of the second edition is that the text is not printed on the back (sometimes the text lightly shows through to the front on the first or third editions). The third edition is printed on a heavier rich hand-made paper. The following is a summary:

First Edition, 1613. Text description printed on the back of the print.
Second Edition, 1640. Back of print is blank.
Third Edition, 1713 [- c. 1750]. Thicker and richer with grainier cloth fibers. Text description printed on the back of the print.

Condition: Condition for individual prints is shown in the above viewer. It varies, most being very good with the usual overall toning, wear, abrasions, soiling, soft creases. Some of the following characteristics are present, typical for this work: printers creases, scattered rust spots from iron and cloth particles in paper, irregular central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), text from the backside lightly showing through to front, manuscript plate numbers upper left or right. Some with various minor chips or short tears to margins, professionally restored. Some with engraved platemarks variously present, often as issued. Paper tone and margins may vary from one print to the next.

References:

Barker, Nicolas. Hortus Eystettensis, The Bishop's Garden and Besler's Magnificent Book. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994. p.21.

Blunt, Wilfred, rev. by Stearn, William T. The Art of Botanical Illustration. Woodbridge, Suffolk, England: Antique Collectors Club, 1994. pp. 106-108.

Brindle, John V., James J. White and Donald E Wendel. Flora Portrayed: Classics of Botanical Art from the Hunt Institute Collection. Pittsburgh, PA: Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie-Mellon University, 1985. 430.

Keunecke, Hans-Otto. Hortus Eystettensis: zur Geschichte eines Gartens und einer Buches, Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1989, pp.106-112, 131-4.

Mail-Brandt, Maria. "Besler, Basilius Apotheker, Sammler, Gartenliebhaber, Verleger" Garten-Literatur. 27 February 2002. http://www.garten-literatur.de/Leselaube/persoenl/besler_p.htm (5 April 2006).

Nissen, Claus. Die Botanische Buchillustration: ihre Geschichte und Bibliographie. Stuttgart:1951-66. 159.

Pritzel, Georg August. Thesaurus Literaturae Botanicae Omnium Gentium. Milan: 1950. 745.

Stafleu, Frans A. and Richard S.Cowan. Taxonomic Literature. Utrecht: 1967. 2nd ed., Utrecht: 1976-1988. 497.

"The Garden at Eichstätt." Taschen Books. http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/books/interiors_savoir_vivre/all/facts/01624.htm (5 April 2006).

inv_item commonname title edition platemark overall condition price fullimage tn
1 Peony Paeonia polyanthus flore rubro 3rd 19 x 15.25 inches 19.75 inches x 16.75 inches Rich color. Faint toning of paper. Some minor chipping and short tears to margins, professionally restored and can be matted out. Text from backside slightly showing through to front, unobtrusive. Faint rust spotting from iron in paper. Minor scattered printer's creases, as issued. Platemark fully present. 4200 paeoniapoly.jpg paeoniapoly-2.jpg
2 Peony Paeonia flore pleno incarnato 3rd 15.25 inches x 15.25 inches 19.5 inches x 16.5 inches Rich color. Faint toning of paper, central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), as issued. Some minor chipping and short tears to margins, professionally restored and can be matted out. Text from backside slightly showing through to front, unobtrusive. Platemark fully present. 4200 paeoniaflore.jpg paeoniaflore-2.jpg
3 Tulip Tulipa Serotina Polyanthos (Pl. 74) 2nd 18.5 inches x 15.25 inches 20 x 15.75 inches Rich color. Some minor chipping and short tears to margins, professionally restored and can be matted out. Central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), as issued. Faint manuscript plate number 74, upper right, in old hand. Platemarks fully present, but margins short along bottom and right sides. 0 tulipaser.jpg tulipaser-2.jpg
4 Tulip Tulipa Lutea Maculis Rubens 2nd 18.5 inches x 16 inches 21.5 inches x 16.75 inches Rich color. Some minor chipping and short tears to margins, professionally restored and can be matted out. Central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), as issued. Platemark fully present, somewhat offset from center. Left and right margins a bit short. 0 tulipalu.jpg tulipalu-2.jpg
5 Tulip Tulipa Albicans Margine Coccineo 1st 18.25 inches x 15.25 inches 21 x 17 inches Small short tear to top margin, can be matted out. Text from backside slightly showing through to front, unobtrusive. Minor scattered printer's creases and central horizontal creases (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), as issued. Light foxing and faint spotting from iron in paper, unobtrusive. Platemark fully present. 4400 tulipalbi.jpg tulipalbi-2.jpg
6 Iris Iris latifolia violaceo colore maior 3rd 18.75 inches x 15.5 inches 19.5 inches x 16.25 inches Rich color. Minor paper toning. Text from backside slightly showing through to front, unobtrusive. Central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), as issued. Faint rust spotting from iron in paper. Minor scattered printer's creases, as issued. Platemark fully present. Short top and left margins. 0 irislat.jpg irislat-2.jpg
7 Iris Iris Calcedonica latifolia 1st 18.5 inches x 15.75 inches 19.5 inches x 16.5 inches Minor paper toning. Scattered book worm holes in margins. Text from backside slightly showing through to front, unobtrusive. Central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), as issued. Faint rust spotting from iron in paper. Minor scattered printer's creases, as issued. Platemark fully present. 3200 iriscal.jpg iriscal-2.jpg
8 Iris Calceolus Mariae 3rd – Text verso 18.5 inches x 15.75 inches 19.5 inches x 16.25 inches Rich color. Minor paper toning. Some minor chipping and short tears to margins, minor book worm hole in upper left quarter, unobtrusive. Text from backside slightly showing through to front, unobtrusive. Central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), as issued. Faint rust spotting from iron in paper. Minor scattered printer's creases, as issued. Platemarks faint. Margins a little short. 2200 iriscalmar.jpg iriscalmar-2.jpg
9 Lily Lilium Montanum rubrum praecox 3rd 19 x 15.5 inches 19.5 inches x 16.5 inches Rich color. Minor paper toning. Some minor chipping and short tears to margins, professionally restored and can be matted out. Text from backside slightly showing through to front, unobtrusive. Central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), as issued. Faint rust spotting from iron in paper. Minor scattered printer's creases, as issued. Platemark fully present. Top margin short. 0 liliummont.jpg liliummont-2.jpg
10 Rose Rosa centifolia rubra 2nd 18.5 inches x 15.5 inches 21 x 16.25 inches Paper toning mostly in margins. Some minor chipping and short tears to margins, professionally restored and can be matted out. Book worm hole center right, unobtrusive and can be matted out. Central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), as issued. Faint rust spotting from iron in paper. Minor scattered printer's creases, as issued. Manuscript plate number, upper right, in old hand. Platemark fully present. Short right margin. 2500 rosacent.jpg rosacent-2.jpg
11 Rose Rosa Flore Albo Pleno 2nd 18.5 inches x 15.5 inches 21 inches x 16.25 inches Paper toning mostly in margins. Some minor chipping and short tears to margins, professionally restored and can be matted out. Central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), as issued. Faint rust spotting from iron in paper. Minor scattered printer's creases, as issued. Manuscript plate number, upper right, in old hand. Platemark fully present. Short but ample left margin. 2500 rosaflore.jpg rosaflore-2.jpg
12 Rose Rosa ex rubro nigricans flore pleno 3rd 18.75 inches x 15.5 inches 19.25 inches x 16.5 inches Rich color. Printing on verso faintly visible on front, little toning of paper. Printer's crease lower right quarter. Central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried). Scattered rust spots from iron in paper. Platemark present. 0 rosarub.jpg rosarub-2.jpg
13 Tomato Poma amoris fructu luteo 3rd – Text verso 18.75 inches x 15.75 inches 19.75 inches x 16.5 inches Rich color. Very minor paper toning. Some minor chipping and short tears to margins, professionally restored and can be matted out. Text from backside slightly showing through to front, unobtrusive. Minor scattered book worm holes center right unobtrusive. Central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), as issued. Faint rust spotting from iron in paper. Minor scattered printer's creases, as issued. Platemark fully present. 1800 pomayellow.jpg pomayellow-2.jpg
14 Tomato Poma amoris fructu rubro 3rd – Text verso 18. 75 x 15.75 inches 19.5 inches x 16.5 inches Rich color. Very minor paper toning. Some minor chipping and short tears to margins, professionally restored and can be matted out. Text from backside slightly showing through to front, unobtrusive. Central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), as issued. Faint rust spotting from iron in paper. Minor scattered printer's creases, as issued. Platemarks faint but fully present. Top and left margins a bit short. 1800 pomared.jpg pomared-2.jpg
15 Orchid Orchis Serapias secun da Dodonaei 3rd– Text verso 18.5 inches x 15.5 inches 19.5 inches x 16.5 inches Rich color. Some scattered rust spots from iron in paper, faintly toned. Central horizontal crease, as issued (resulting when hand-made paper was dried). Text from the backside lightly showing through to front. Platemark present. 2200 orchis.jpg orchis-2.jpg
16 Acanthus Acanthus Leuis 2nd 18.5 inches x 16 21 x 16.25 inches Some minor chipping and short tears to margins, professionally restored, can be matted out. Central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), as issued. Very faint line caused by crack in printers plate, as issued, unobtrusive. Platemark present, but left margin short. 0 acanthus.jpg acanthus-2.jpg
17 Rose Campion Lychnis Coronaria Flore Rubro Pleno 3rd 16.5 inches x 15.5 inches 21 x 16.25 inches Some minor chipping and short tears to margins, professionally restored and can be matted out. Text from backside slightly showing through to front, unobtrusive. Faint central horizontal crease (resulting when hand-made paper was dried), as issued. Faint rust spotting from iron in paper. Few scattered printer's creases, as issued. Platemark faint but present, somewhat offset from center. Top, left and right margins a bit short. 2200 lychnis.jpg lychnis-2.jpg
18 Water Lily Nymphaea Alba Maior 1st 18.75 inches x 15.75 inches 19.5 inches x 16.5 inches Rich color. Paper lightly toned. Text from backside slightly showing through to front, unobtrusive. Faint rust spotting from iron in paper. Minor scattered printer's creases, as issued. Platemark fully present. Ample margins. 0 nymphea.jpg nymphea-2.jpg
19 Lupines/ Pea Lupinus exoticus flore albo, Lupinus vulgaris flore albo, Lotus Tetragonolobus Camerary 3rd 19 x 15.5 inches 19.5 x 16.25 inches Generally very good with only minor overall toning and handling. Platemark present on most sides. Framed in simple gold leaf APF frame with the usual wear, frame measures 21 x 17.75 inches. 1300 lupinus.jpg lupinus-2.jpg