The first edition of Hortus Eystettensis, the work containing this fabulous image, was published in 1613. It was the first great flower book and contained 367 images of over 1,000 varieties of flowering plants. This amazing accomplishment was the result of the collaboration of two men, a Nuremberg apothecary named Basil Besler (1561-1629) and his patron the Prince Bishop of Eichstatt.They worked on it for 16 years including images of all of the flowers contained in the extraorinarily extensive gardens created by the Prince at his Wilibaldsburg castle including many exotic plants brought to him from Mexico and the Americas. The work contained unusually large sheets in order to show the plants life size. He identified each with a beautiful baroque style of engraved calligraphy.
This engraving is from the second edition of the work, published in 1640 on laid paper possessing the snake watermark. Many prefer this edition because it did not have text on the verso which can distract from appreciation of the images.
20 3/4 x 16 3/4 inches. Copperplate engraving with hand coloring. Lightly inked in bottom left text but excellent condition.