Basilius Besler (1561 – 1629) was a Nuremberg apothecary, chemist, healer and botanist whose magnificent etchings transformed sterile documentations of plants into stunning works of exquisite beauty. He was commissioned by Bishop Johann Konrad von Gemmingen to create engravings of all the flowers in his vast garden. As a result, Besler spent 16 years depicting each of 1,084 varieties of flowers as they bloomed throughout the four seasons, in 367 colored plates. Many were exotic plants imported from the Americas and the Ottoman Empire, and all were portrayed in actual size.
His extraordinary, detailed work set the standard for all notable flower books of the following centuries.