Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Book Catalogs

I receive a ton of catalogs. They cover everything from make-up for redheads, horse paraphernalia and books. Two of my favorite book catalogs are A Common Reader and Bas Bleu.

When I got home from work yesterday the Bas Bleu catalog was waiting for me in my mailbox. I was thrilled to see that they have the The Besler Florilegium: Plants of the Four Seasons . This edition is written by Gerard Aymonin. It's $195.00 so it's certainly not a book that I will be purchasing in the foreseeable future, but what an awesome book to have in one's library.

The original of this 542 page tome was published in 1613 by Basilius Besler. Besler documented the garden of the Prince Bishop Johann Konrad von Gemming of Eichstätt, Germany. The Prince had created what was probably the first comprehensive botanical garden devoted to flowering plants. The Florilegium is considered to be one of the greatest books of botanical illustartion of all time.

The Besler family controlled the sale and distribution of the books until 1817. Today, fewer than ten colored copies are on record. The original copper plates were melted down at the Royal Mint in Munich in 1817.

I was reading some of the comments that were left on Amazon about this book. One person said that this "is not a book, it's an event". This facsimilie edition weighs over 14 pounds. Filled with gorgeous botanical plates this would be a showpiece in anyone's library.

I'm trying to track down where some of the originals are located. I've checked WorldCat and I'm not getting a lot of information on the original. If anyone has any thoughts on this could you let me know? Thanks.

"If minds are truly alive they will seek out books, for books are the human race recounting its memorable experiences, confronting its problems, searching for solutions, drawing the blueprints of it futures". - Harry A. Overstreet

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