Free Vintage Illustrations of Birds Nests with Eggs

Birds nests and egg images are versatile and incorporate well into a variety of different holiday crafts.  Growing up, mom took her Christmas trees seriously, so we always had different themed trees.  One of my favorites was her nature tree filled with birds nests and eggs.  I was thinking about their versatility and how they would make a nice touch to this year’s Valentines Day crafts, so I fished out some of my favorite nest and egg images from my personal collection of antique illustrations and die cuts.  These free antique images are packed with color, flowers, and lush foliage.  While curating this post, I  also wondered about bird and egg symbolism in art.  If you’re curious too, check out the fun facts at the end of this post!

Bird and Egg Symbolism in Art

  • Birds were particularly important in art from the Byzantine, Gothic, and early Renaissance time periods.
  • The Finch would often represent an angel going back to heaven.
  • The Phoenix and Peacock would symbolize resurrection and vigilance for early Christian knights.
  • Crows and ravens would often symbolize more negative themes like criminal or ill-meaning thoughts, dishonesty, and associates of the devil.
  • White doves have historically represented peace and love.
  • In art and culture, eggs have symbolized different themes, particularly health, luck, hope, and wealth.
  • Golden eggs in literature were often magical or associated with dragons.
  • Famous Greek mythological figure, Helen of Troy, was born out of an egg.
  • Eggs also represented hope and spring for Christmas and became the prevailing symbol of resurrection during Easter.

Free Vintage Illustrations of Wild Animals, Insects, and Marine Life from Antique Children’s Science Book

I’ve been wanting to do a wild animals post for a while, but hadn’t found the right content I was looking for until now. Published in 1895, A Popular History of Animals for Young People was like an early version of Scientific Britannica for Kids. Rather than cartoonish animal figures, this book features animals drawn in that classic scientific illustration style. I love reading through old informational resources and encyclopedias and spotting outdated information and the changes in views, psychology, zoology, and more subjects. But those antique book illustrations never go out of style! These images are no longer under copyright, so they’re free to use in all your animal-themed projects. Furthermore, these free images are great for book covers, placemats, postcards, t-shirt designs, posters, Etsy crafts, and more creative projects. Plus don’t forget to check out some quick zoological history facts at the end of this post!

Fun Facts about the History of Zoology

  • Zoology is also known as animal biology, which is the branch of biological study that deals with just the animal kingdom and how animals interact with their environment. Examples of different subjects in animal biology/zoology include: embryology, classification, ecology, evolution, molecular biology, and extinction.
  • Zoological study was first introduced in ancient Greco-Roman times
  • Pioneering naturalists like Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon and Carl Linnaeus were among the first people to start documenting animal biodiversity and animal classification.
  • Charles Darwin’s famous work about natural selection, The Origin of the Species, shook the zoological world in 1859.
  • Aristotle wrote extensively about living things, encouraging the emerging study of zoology
  • Ancient Roman scholar, Pliny the Elder, wrote a 37-volume zoological book called Historia naturalis (Natural History) – this is often credited as the first written scientific encyclopedia. While this book did not discern between scientific facts and assumptions from the scientific community of the time, this book nonetheless served as the predominant text on natural history (in the western world) for centuries.