Philipp Hainhofer, Report on the Eichstätt Garden and the Work on Hortus Eystettensis (1611)


This short description of the botanical garden in the Bavarian town of Eichstätt was written by Philipp Hainhofer (1578–1647), a merchant, banker, and art collector in Augsburg. The garden was established at the behest of Prince-Archbishop Johann Conrad von Gemmingen (1561–1612), who called for it to be located underneath his residence, the castle of Eichstätt. Nuremberg botanists and pharmacists Joachim Camerarius and Basilius Besler were tasked with designing and laying out the garden, which was later destroyed during the Thirty Years War. The archbishop also commissioned Besler to produce a catalogue of the garden, the Hortus Eystettensis (1613). Besler was supported in his endeavor by several skilled draftsmen and engravers. Most of the text of Hortus Eystettensis was written by botanist Ludwig Jungerman (1572–1653), who was Camerarius’ nephew.



After the meal, I was left alone for an hour; then [Wolfgang] Agricola came and talked to me for a while. After him, [Johann Georg] von Werdenstein [arrived]; he greeted me in the bishop’s name and excused His Princely Highness for not being able to have himself carried into the garden in this windy weather, as had been planned, and for instead having to stay in bed in a warm room, because of congestion that had descended into his chest. He would see to it that they would hold an audience for me at a good time tomorrow.

In the meantime, he and Agricola, with the servants and the castle guards, would accompany me and take me around the garden, for we then walked around in eight gardens surrounding the castle, which sits on a rocky cliff and also overlooks the clear picture of many masses [of plants]. The masses are all from various countries, [and are different kinds of] partimenti, flowers, especially beautiful roses, lilies, tulips. [D]oue che frà tti (tutti) fiori sicuramente: non vi è piu bello della Rosa, la quale è vaghezza delle piante et vigulti, decoro della terra, occhio delgi horti, porpora de prati, freggio de colli, pompa de giardini: gemma della gioventu, venusta delle mense, ornamento de sepulchri, amica delle muse spirante amore: et fine gareggiante con l’aurora et ridente continuanmente con zephiro [It is given that of all the flowers, certainly none is more beautiful than the rose, which is the most delightful of all the plants and shoots, the ornament of the earth, the eye of the gardens, the purple of the fields, the edging of the hills, the splendor of the gardens, a jewel of youth, the beauty of the tables, the decoration of graves, the friend of the Muses breathing love, and finally competing with the dawn and always laughing with the zephyr],

Ut bona juncta bonis majoris sunt bonitatis,
Lillia juncta rosis ita sunt melioris odoris

[Just as good combined with good spells greater goodness,
So lilies combined with roses produce a better fragrance].

[The castle] is in part graced with painted halls and entertainment rooms; a small room [contains] a round ebony table, whose top and base are inlaid with flowers and insects engraved with silver.

From the lower castle garden, we walked through the construction yard and the smithy to the quarry, where we saw the rocky cliff on which the palace stands being blown up with powder to obtain large pieces of stone. The pieces are then prepared for building; then 200 men from Graubünden and Romandy work on the project continuously, and twelve dray horses pull the stone up the hill.

His Princely Highness wishes to change around the entire castle and have it built in stone on the stone cliff; this summer one side of the construction is to have its roof added, which is to be covered with copper; all of this will cost more than 100,000 florins. The gardens will also all be changed around and made the same size on the hill around the palace; on the eastern side a delightful chapel will be built. All the windows will be nine Werkschuh [each 11.65 inches; here 8.74 feet] high; nothing is to be paneled, much less smoothed out with pulls [?] and timbers, but [there are only to be] cornices for hanging tapestries.

And next to the quarry a stream flows forth; it has been directed all the way around the castle hill and is called the “old mill,” providing very good river trout, pike, sculpins, even large, beautiful crayfish.

Fish, leaves, birds, flowers, and many strange things that nature puts on display are to be found in the cliff stone.

After this, we went to the pheasant garden, where there are four different kinds [of pheasants], in the first, white pheasants; in the second, speckled pheasants; and in the third and fourth, red pheasants, as well as cranes and other birds.

As the gardens are different, they also have different gardeners so that they do not interfere with each other.

From the garden I was once again escorted to my quarters, left on my own for a time, then fed again, and greeted and wished a good night by the bishop through a manservant. The manservant in charge of silver, who would come and serve a light meal at any time, cleared away everything again with his people.

On the morning of May 18 at 6:30, His Princely Highness again sent Agricola to me, and had him wish me good morning and ask me what I would like to drink and have for breakfast.

At 7:00, because I did not want any, von Werdenstein came to me in the name of His Princely Highness, wished me good day, asked how I had slept, and whether I would like to go to the audience. As he and other court servants wanted to accompany me, I went with him to His Princely Highness’s room, kissed the latter’s hand, and while he was still standing, said roughly the following:

Your Princely Highness will still remember what not long ago His Most Serene Highness, Prince and Lord, Count Palatine Wilhelm, etc., my Most Gracious Prince and Lord wrote to Your Princely Highness regarding a number of likenesses of birds, flowers, and other exotic life forms, and what Your Princely Highness answered in turn to His Most Serene Highness, namely, you are pleased that His Most Serene Highness would like to send someone to Eichstätt, so that the likenesses presently available would be shown to him and communicated to His Most Serene Highness. When then (His Most Serene Highness) accepted the benevolent offer of Your Princely Highness with grateful pleasure, he sent me to Your Princely Highness with the credentials already most humbly submitted to Your Princely Highness and graciously ordered me to declare to you his friendship, neighborly greetings, and the best of everything. In addition to a renewed request for communication, which His Most Serene Highness intends for me to further establish here with Your Princely Highness, he ordered me to await what Your Princely Highness would show to me and would allow to be lent [? unclear word – Translator.] for which the oft-mentioned Most Serene Highness would not fail to reciprocate on an appropriate occasion with friendship and good will.

At that, His Princely Highness answered with the following words: I am delighted at the gentleman’s presence and send official thanks to the Most Serene Highness, Duke Wilhelm of Bavaria, my Gracious Lord, for the greetings presented and for the complete trust he has in me. I wish that I had what His Princely Highness [sic? His Most Serene Highness] would like to seek from me. But I do not have anything that His Highness does not already have but more beautiful and better, and in addition the flowers that [are] my most elegant likenesses, [are] now at Nuremberg (an apothecary there, who helped me set up my garden and expand it with flowers, told me that he wanted to make copper engravings of the flowers, publish them, dedicate them to me, and thus seek his fame and profit), the gentleman must immediately be recalling that he was obligated to [take] this assigned pleasure trip, but I will faithfully present all the little that is here , and we will talk with each other for a while beforehand.

Then His Princely Highness sat down again, covered himself, and said that he could not stand further because his feet would not hold him any longer. So, I had to sit with His Princely Highness, cover myself, too, and stay for a half hour alone together with him.

The conversation was about His Most Serene Highness in Bavaria, about his condition and life, about likenesses, and especially about flowers, as His Princely Highness said that the apothecary [Basilius] Besler in Nuremberg was just now fully engaged with working on the book, that His Princely Highness arranged to send one or two boxes of fresh flowers there every week so that likenesses could be made, as he had tulips in five hundred different colors; this book would cost him about 3,000 florins.


Source: Philipp Hainhofer, “Bericht über den Eichstätter Garten und die Arbeit am Hortus Eystettensis” (1611) in Zeitschrift des Historischen Vereins für Schwaben und Neuburg, Vol. 8 (1881), pp. 24–28. Available online at:,00028.html

Translation: Kathleen Dell’Orto

Nicolas Barker, Hortus Eystettensis: The Bishop's Garden and Besler's Magnificent Book. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1994.

Mara Hofmann and Caroline Zöhl, Hortus Eystettensis. Studien zur Entstehung des Kupferstichwerks und zum Exemplar des Andrea Vendramin. University of Heidelberg, 2003.

Philipp Hainhofer, Report on the Eichstätt Garden and the Work on Hortus Eystettensis (1611), published in: German History Intersections, <> [December 03, 2023].