1561-1629,was a respected Nuremberg apothecary and botanist, best known for his monumental Hortus Eystettensis. He was curator of the garden of Johann Konrad von Gemmingen, prince bishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria. The bishop was an enthusiastic botanist who derived great pleasure from his garden, which was the only important European botanical garden outside Italy. The gardens surrounded the bishop's palace, Willibaldsburg, which was built on a hill overlooking the town. These gardens had been started in 1596 and designed by Besler's colleague, Joachim Camerarius, the Younger (1534-1598), a physician and botanist. Upon Camerarius' death in 1598, Besler had the remainder of Camerarius' plants moved to Eichstätt and carried on the work of planting and supervision. The bishop commissioned Besler to compile a codex of the plants growing in his garden, a task which Besler took sixteen years to complete, the bishop dying shortly before the work was published. Besler had the assistance of his brother and a group of skilled German draughtsmen and engravers, including Sebastian Schedel, an accomplished painter, and Wolfgang Kilian, a skilled engraver from Augsburg. Kilian and his team engraved the initial copper plates, but after the bishop??s death, the operations moved to N??rnberg and a new team of engravers, among whom were Johannes Leypold, Georg Gärtner, Levin and Friedrich van Hulsen, Peter Isselburg, Heinrich Ulrich, Dominicus Custos and Servatius Raeven. Camerarius' nephew, Ludwig Jungermann (1572-1653), was a botanist and wrote the lion's share of the descriptive text. The work was named Hortus Eystettensis (Garden at Eichstätt). The emphasis in botanicals of previous centuries had been on medicinal and culinary herbs, and these had usually been depicted in a crude manner. The images were often inadequate for identification, and had little claim to being aesthetic. The Hortus Eystettensis changed botanical art overnight. The plates were of garden flowers, herbs and vegetables, exotic plants such as castor-oil and arum lilies.
Drawing for the Hortus Eystettensis