Fairies & Elves: Richard Doyle’s 19th-Century Fairyland Illustrations

Elves, fairies, and insects in Richard Doyle In Fairyland (1870)

I’m back from a long hiatus!

Thank you to everyone who visits and shares this website. I hope everyone likes this latest batch of free vintage illustrations.

So let’s get to it ūüôā

There are so many more things I want to add to this site, one of them being more elves and fairies.

I’ve been aware of Richard Doyle’s In Fairyland illustrations for a while now, so I got my hands on some from public¬†domain collections at¬†various libraries.

This guy is definitely a public domain stand-out.

You can learn more about Doyle’s In Fairyland series at the Met’s public domain page.

Three elves battling a giant grasshopper in Richard Doyle's In Fairyland.

Fairies and elves clash with nature in this fun, vibrant series. Originally published in 1870.

A vintage color illustration of an elf with owls and birds.

Richard “Dickie” Doyle was born in Cambridge Terrace, London, in 1824 to notable Irish political caricaturist, John Doyle. Richard had no formal art training outside of his father’s own studio and guidance. At an early age, he showed a particular fondness for the fantasy genre.

Two fairies flying through the sky with a butterfly leaf chariot.

5 Fun Facts About Elves and Fairies

According to Encyclopedia.com,

  • The word “fairy” comes from the Latin word, Fata or fate.
  • ¬†In folklore, they’re depicted as both helpful and potentially harmful to humans. But always mischevious¬†in manner!
  • “Fairy tradition” or “fairy culture” is strongest in the British Isles. However, fairies appear in stories from Africa to Asia as well.
  • Many fairy stories present fairyland as a place where time stops or slows down considerably. This is evidenced by humans (mortals) who’re kicked out of fairyland after a year, only to return to the human world where several years have passed.
  • In 1927, an actual Fairy Investigation Society was established to document and study possible fairy sightings.

A vintage elf and fairy kissing near a mushroom in Fairyland.

This last image shows two of Doyles infamous fairies kissing in Fairyland. Perfect for Valentines Day!

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Vintage Illustrations of Deer, Fawns, Does, and Bucks

vintage illustration of two deer by lake taking a drink of water  vintage illustration of a baby deer fawn

This website needs some deer.

So I sifted through the New York State Library’s public domain archives and found six really cool vintage illustrations of bucks, fawns, does, and multiple deer.

I cropped and tweaked the colors and contrast a bit to make them pop. You can find some originals here and get a little more info about these 19th-century illustrations.

antique sketchbook sketches of multiple deer

Speaking of deer, they’re everywhere, right?

I thought I’d do a little research on deer and dig up some fun facts on this¬†popular and populous animal.

Check this out:

  • If you’re into all that spirit animal stuff, people who claim deer as their spirit animal are apparently highly sensitive with a good intuition. Other aspects include gentleness, tackling problems with maturity, and quick adaption skills. Cool!
  • Now, for some science: deer are part of the Cervidae family which is broken up into two primary groups, Cervinae and Capreolinae. Arguably, the most popular Capreolinae species are Reindeer and Moose.
  • All male deer (or bucks) have antlers. Actually, all but one. Chinese water deer males are the only deer species that do not grow antlers. Instead, this unique deer species grows long canine tusks.
  • Deer are herbivores and primarily consume a diet of young leaves, fruit, fungi (mushrooms), berries, fresh grass, and lichen.
  • The Oligocene period ushered in a proliferation of new early cervid (deer) species.

antique illustration of deer jumping in meadow

8 Deer Inspired Craft Projects You Have to Try

Need some inspiration for that next craft or classroom project? Check out these clever and creative deer projects you can do with minimal supplies. Free vintage illustration of a lone deer in the woods

 

vintage illustration of a male buck deer and female doe deer

Whimsical Vintage Illustration of a Fairy Grotto

Free vintage illustration of a fairy grotto

Hey!

I wanted to pop in quickly to share this awesome 19th-century illustration of a fairy grotto I found through the New York State Library.

I love this image. It sort of reminds me of The Last Unicorn, you know, that 80’s animation where the band America did the entire soundtrack with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Anyhoo.

This image was originally published in 1867 by Currier & Ives, a 19th-century American printmaking company. There isn’t too much information available about this artwork, but you can read more about it here.

Late 19th-Century Illustrations of Gems and Precious Stones

Who loves rocks and minerals? Free scientific illustrations of rocks and minerals

I most certainly do ūüôā

Recently, I went to the latest gems and minerals show held at the New York State Museum. It was awesome.

And a few years ago I was lucky enough to attend the rocks and minerals show in Tuscan, Arizona, the largest of its kind in the United States. That was an awesome show too, as I came away with some great mini trilobites at a fraction of the price.

Tip: vendors ALWAYS discount on the last day!

Anyways, I’m getting off track. I clearly had rocks and minerals on the brain, so I went searching through 19th-century mineralogy books and found some wonderful illustrations for you to use and share.

These are my favorite illustrations from the book, Gems and Precious Stones of North America. But you can view the entire book here where you’ll find more images too.

Antique rocks and minerals illustrations

 

Who Wrote This Book Anyway?

The vintage book, Gems and Precious Stones of North America, was written and illustrated by the 19th-century mineralogist, George Frederick Kunz.

Kunz was born in 1856 in New York City and harbored a love for rocks and minerals from an early age.

In fact, by the time he was a teenager, Kunz had collected thousands of specimens and sold them to the University of Minnesota.

Though a working mineralogist and collector, Kunz never went to college to pursue a degree in the field. Instead, he taught himself through his own field research and whatever mineralogy books he could find.

By 23, Kunz was already vice president of Tiffany & Co.

During his tenure with Tiffany & Co., Kunz discovered a new gem which was aptly named, Kunzite.

Kunz founded the Museums of the Peaceful Arts, was president of the American Metric Association, and was a lead research curator for the Museum of Natural History in New York City.

vintage illustrations of precious stones and gems

Shop For Rocks & Mineral Gifts

With your purchase of any Cost Plus World Market product below, FreeVintageillustrations.com will receive a commission. This is one way to support the site and score some really awesome gifts too ūüôā

      

                   

      

Vintage St. Patrick’s Day Postcards

Antique St. Patrick's Day Postcard Vintage St. Patty's Day Postcard

I realized I didn’t have too much stuff for Saint Patrick’s Day.

I wanted to expand my pool of resources anyway and found myself sifting through the public domain collection from the New York State Public Library.

Glad I did because I found these super festive St. Patrick’s Day Postcards.

I made a few brightness and contrast adjustments with Pixlr, but you can also find the originals right here. 

These vintage St. Patty’s Day postcards were produced sometime between the 1930s and 40s. The NYPL thoroughly reviewed their copyright status and found that you are “free to use [them] in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that [apply] to your use.”

Enjoy!

 

Fun Facts About St. Patrick’s Day

Curious about the history of St. Patrick’s Day?

Me too! So I did a little research and compiled these fun facts for your flashcards, blogs, etc.

  • St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.
  • St. Patrick is credited with introducing Christianity to Ireland.
  • Scholars believe St. Patrick died in the year 461 on March 17th.
  • Shamrock connection: Legend says that St. Patrick would use shamrocks to describe the father, son, and the holy spirit.
  • Roughly 100 different St. Patrick’s Day parades on held in the U.S on March 17th.
  • The largest St. Patrick’s Day parades are in Boston and New York City.
  • The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in the United States, not Ireland, in 1962.
  • In 1962, Chicago dumped green dye into the Chicago River to trace and remove sewage. This started a tradition of Chicago dying their river green every St. Patrick’s Day.

19th Century Decorative Design Illustrations

antique-decorative-design-illustration-3 antique-decorative-design-illustration-4

I love antique art books, especially art supply catalogs and instructional materials.

The 19th-century book, The Art of Decorative Design, discusses symmetry in nature and botany when designing decorative collectibles, motifs, etc. I just skimmed around honestly, so there’s definitely more to it than that. I saw another chapter that talked about how to express emotion in decorative design which looked interesting too. You can check out the entire book here.

There were a few illustrations that caught my eye, so I cropped and brightened them up a bit for you to use. I thought these would make great stencil designs for screen printing. You could also use them for invitations, playing card designs, stamp designs, mixed media painting, and other fun stuff.

Antique Illustrations of Houseplants From 1807

A free antique botanical illustration of a round-headed buddlea plant Enjoy this free vintage botanical illustration of a calla lily Vintage botanical illustration of a magnolia houseplant from 1807

Personally, I love having lots of houseplants around.

My dream home would basically be an inside porch with an indoor garden.

Aside from aesthetics, houseplants apparently have the following benefits according to iGrow.org too:

  • NASA studies show that houseplants “scrub indoor air pollutants” and may even decrease the amount of carbon monoxide in the air.
  • Houseplants actually recycle carbon monoxide through photosynthesis which helps us breathe better indoors.
  • Plants increase humidity in your home, 97% of their own moisture to be exact, which is especially helpful during those dry summer and winter seasons.
  • Studies show that surrounding yourself with houseplants improves your memory and can increase your knowledge retention by 20%!

Well, that’s awesome.

But what do I love more than houseplants?

Vintage botanical illustrations of houseplants!

And lucky for me, I found lots of colorful houseplant illustrations from this colored plate book from 1807. I picked out my favorites, cleaned them up with Pixlr, and posted them below for you to use.