A wonderful work of art, the monumental project of one of the major German botanists, a seasonal song of flowers.
Aboca Edizioni presents the entire reproduction in a limited series of the Hortus Eystettensis byBasilius Besler, drawn from the magnificent specimen conserved at the Eichstätt University Library. The work includes illustrations of more than 1000 plants, ordered according to the natural flowering chronology, and marks the definitive passage from xylographic technique to chalcographic technique.
From the comment by Duilio Contin: "The realisation has in many cases been excellent and some plates are genuine masterworks of drawing and colouring. […] the highlights of this work have to be the size of the plates, the splendour of the original colouring, the number of images of lively flower scenes, of which I can recall the wide variety of lilies. […] Examining a good number of specimens with the original colouring in the first edition, held in the libraries of major European capitals, but also in the collection of a fortunate private individual and in the library of the University of Eichstätt, which allowed us this reproduction, you can discern the differences due to the individual hands and finishing in this work in the impersonation, the colour, the signature of the artist, sometimes present, sometimes not, the diversity of the graphic style of the various artists".
The commentary, in English, Italian and German, provides more detail on the volume from a botanical and artistic point of view, giving much space to the typographical challenges of the work and the biography of the author.
The facsimiles from the Aboca Edizioni collection are worthy publications, created with precious materials and avant-garde printing techniques. The Hortus Eystettensis has been printed on purpose made paper, similar in weight, texture, colour and laid lines to that of the 17th-century edition. The printing process used reproduced the pressure of the chalcographic press and, for colouring the plates, advanced chromolithographic techniques were used. Lastly, the binding was carried out traditionally by hand, with traditional sewing, colouring, edging, threading and labelling of the spine.
Introduction by Valentino Mercati.
Contributions by Klaus Walter Littger, Alessandro Menghini, Wolf-Dieter Müller-Jahncke, Duilio Contin, Werner Dressendörfer.
In Eichstätt, place of origin of the Hortus Eystettensis, no specimen of the first edition was conserved. Only in 1891 the then director of the state and seminarial library, Franz S. Romstöck managed to acquire a specimen in three volumes from 1613 in London. It was a specimen from the luxury run of the work, where the rear of the prints were left blank and the pages printed on both sides were inserted between the plates. The colouring of the plates, performed by an unknown artist by hand, are notable for the delicacy, luminosity and the capacity to bring out the weave of the print.
The Hortus Eystettensis is made up of:
Volume I: spring
134 colour chalcographic plates
Volume II: summer
127 colour chalcographic plates
Volume III: autumn and winter
106 colour chalcographic plates
The beautiful blue silk cases for storing the three volumes are included in the price, while the plexiglass stand and table ca be purchased separately.