From Hortus Eystettensis (Garden of Eichstätt), Nürnberg, 1613, 1640, 1713
The great florilegium by Basilius Besler (1561-1629) is one of the most ambitious and splendid books ever produced on ornamental flowering plants. In more than a thousand drawings of great accuracy and astonishing freshness of color, Besler recorded, season by season, every variety of plant in the fabulous garden he had helped to create for Konrad, bishop-prince of Eichstatt. Hundreds of species, imported from the New World as well as native to Europe, are represented in the florilegium, for Konrad spared no expense either on his beloved garden or on Besler's enormous catalog.
These drawings of living plants not only evoke the beauty of gardens, perfumes and time-honored herbal remedies but also serve as keys to the way Europeans of the Renaissance conceived of the natural world. Besler, like other botanists of his time, did not classify plant life by order or family, and this allowed him the freedom to emphasize in his florilegium nature's fundamental unity. Besler, a botanist-apothecary, rendered flowers as they really are, but he also arranged them very decoratively--two or three on a page--with roots in an elegant tangle and corollas artfully turned to present the quintessential view. Even the captions are rendered in beautiful calligraphy.
The Besler Florilegium: Plants of the Four Seasons, Aymonin