A wonderful ‘life size’ botanical print of Sorgum from Basilius Besler’s epic work; the ‘Hortus Eystettensis’. Besler was a Nuremberg apothecary, commissioned in 1600 by Konrad, the Bishop Prince of Eichstatt, to engrave the contents of his extensive gardens. The resulting 374 plates (illustrating more than a thousand flowers), were arranged according to the yearly seasons. When the book was first published in 1613, it was the largest book ever printed, and the scarce, coloured versions of the prints sold for ten times the price of those sold in black and white. Besler worked on the drawings for almost sixteen years, supervising a team of at least six engravers. The impressive size and scope of these elaborately produced copper engravings certainly make the Hortus Eystettensis one of the most ambitious and stunning botanical publications in the entire history of botanical illustration.
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Size: 545 440 mm. Mounted size: 730 x 640 mm. Copperplate engraving with hand colour. Very good condition, large margins, text on reverse.