The Old Print Shop

Basilius Besler


Basilius Besler was an apothecary and botanist in Germany. His famous "Hortus Eystettensis" botanical book has given him a notable place within history not only because it was an early attempt to classifying plants, it was the grandest of its time. The engraved prints are significantly larger than any publication made prior and were crafted in an elegant and aesthetic manner, rich with detail.

"Hortus Eystettensis" beautifully illustrates the gardens of prince-bishop Johann Konrad von Gemmingen, which were located near Eichstatt, Bavaria. Many of the flowers are depicted in full form, including their root systems. They are accompanied with Latin titles, and occasionally a Latin description to help differentiate them from other flowers in the same family. In total, the book contains 374 plates, illustrating 667 species from Europe, Asia and the Americas.

The book was originally published in 1613 and was reprinted for several decades afterward. There was a luxury edition printed in 1613 that was handcolored, but most editions were left black and white and were colored later.