City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Garden of Eichstatt 1613 Review


By Allan Alstead - Posted on 16 August 2011

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Alexander Meadowes (fine art broker)

This is an outstanding exhibition arranged by Alexander Meddowes of 100 beautiful coloured botanical copper plate engravings by Basil Besler which were originally published in 1613 as the first edition of Hortus Eystettensis.  This is one of the largest collections to be exhibited and hung together for over a decade. 

These beautiful botanical studies by Besler represent a very important part of our social history as they present a record of some of the flowers growing in the finest and most extravagant European garden of its time, the Garden of Eichstatt.    The exhibition shows the influence of world trade which was increasing during the period and led to the rich importing beautiful and exotic flowers and shrubs from around the world. The Garden at Eichstatt was unique at the time in the sheer variety and range of the species it contained.

The Nuremberg garden became the most famous and most celebrated in Europe under Besler's design and direction.   The owner, The Prince Bishop of Eichstatt, commissioned Besler to make an engraved record of all the plants, season by season which took sixteen years to complete.   By 1613 he'd published the grandest and most expensive illustrated catalogue of its kind - a florilegium - with 367 magnificently executed plates depicting some 667 species. It is remarkable that even after nearly 400 years the florilegium still retains its incredible fame and international following.

This splendid exhibition, which is open until 30th August, is well worth a visit.  It is open daily at 39 Royal Terrace from 10am to 1pm or by appointment which can be arranged by telephoning 0131 558 1000.  

The framed originals may be purchased singly or as sets and all are in near perfect condition.  They all have their Latin titles, with prices starting at £1,000 for a 400 year old piece of botanical history. A visit is recommended as you will also see the splendour of the Georgian Royal Terrace and nearby Carlton Hill.