antique prints, maps and watercolors

(Hycinth, Tulip) Hortus Eystettensis. Eichstatt, Germany 1640. $1,850.00

“Hyacinth Orientalis, Tulipa praecox…”

This original engraved botanical plate was included in one of the early editions of Hortus Eystettensis, printed in Germany in 1640. The magnificent work was the first florilegium (great flower book) produced for pleasure and edification, and not simply for strictly medicinal purposes. Incredibly, the botanical work 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. The two men collaborated on their massive project for sixteen years and included images of all of the flowers and plants grown in the extraordinarily extensive gardens the Prince created in the lands surrounding his castle. The volume included many plants and flowers seen and described for the very first time including many exotic plants brought to the Prince from Mexico and the Americas. The copper plate engravings were printed on unusually large sheets of hand-made paper in order to show each plant life size. Besler carefully identified his specimens with a flourishing baroque style engraved calligraphy. Considered the “best of the best” in early botanical engravings by scholar and collector both.

Copperplate engraving, hand colored.
23 ¼ X 17 ¼ inches sheet.
Excellent original condition.