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!

Advertisements

FREE Vintage William Heath Robinson Graphics In Color

William Heath Robinson is one of my favorite artists of the public domain. While searching for new material to curate, I stumbled upon of series of WWI illustrations he created through 1914 and 1918 called¬†“Some Frightful War Pictures.” ¬†These unique antique illustrations feature imaginative cannons, contraptions, battlefields, and more imaginative war imagery. I decided to create a small digital art project with them, and I used free tools such as Pixlr and LunaPic to create colorful “pop” versions of these illustrations for you to use.

Use these free William Heath Robinson graphics as blog images, material for collages, stickers, postcards, prints, and more!

 

Attribution to FreeVintageIllustrations.com is required for online use. See terms for more details. 

Free Vintage Illustrations for Easter: Beatrix Potter’s Benjamin Bunny

This is one of my favorite posts! Beatrix Potter was one of my favorite childhood authors and illustrators growing up, and I was absolutely thrilled to learn a while back that her original works entered the public domain in 2014. Her whimsical critters and rabbits have always been perfect for Easter.  One Easter Sunday, I remember receiving a miniature book collection of all her stories, from Peter Rabbit to Mr. Fisher. For this post, I brought back one of her classics, Benjamin Bunny. This book and its iconic illustrations were originally published in 1904. I selected and edited some of my favorites from a very early version of the book found in the public domain. Easter is the perfect time to bring out this classic story and create Beatrix Potter themed decor, blog images, parties, coloring books, and many more creative Easter projects. To help inspire some ideas, I included links to unique Beatrix Potter themed crafts at the end of the post!

 

Craft Projects & Gifts Inspired By Beatrix Potter!

Make this Easter a Beatrix Potter themed day! I gathered a list a really cool craft projects and gifts online inspired by the one and only Beatrix Potter. Her classic stories and illustrations are ideal for DIY Easter projects, plastic easter egg fillers, decor, and themed gift baskets. I hope you find the creative inspiration you need in this post to whip up some real Beatrix Potter magic this Easter!

Inspired Craft Projects

Beatrix Potter Preschool Activities         Beatrix Potter Inspired Baskets

Tiggy-Winkle Napkins                               Peter Rabbit Garden & Baby Shower Ideas

Beatrix Potter Nursery Theme                 Beatrix Potter Easter Egg Roll Party

Beatrix Potter Spring Garden Party         Beatrix Potter Glitter Ornaments

Beatrix Potter Gift Tags

Buy Beatrix Potter Gifts for Easter

Receiving Beatrix Potter gifts on Easter was one of my favorite childhood traditions. From her lovely illustrations to her whimsical woodland stories, it’s safe to say that Beatrix Potter is simply timeless! Yes, I’m an incurable Beatrix Potter nerd. I still have¬†many of my past Beatrix Potter stuffed animals, book collections, and stationery from childhood. My mom would also stuff my plastic Easter eggs with Beatrix Potter stickers and other trinkets. Looking back, that’s was great alternative to candy!

If you’re looking for a creative alternative to wicker Easter baskets, you can always use foldable Beatrix Potter themed gift boxes. These have that extra element of surprise so you can create fun Easter mystery boxes. Stuff your Beatrix Potter mystery box with Peter Rabbit stuffies, stickers, decorated eggs, craft supplies, sweets, and more trinkets.

Beatrix Potter has proven that Easter isn’t just for bunnies. Hedgehogs, frogs, and guinea pigs are also perfect critters for the season. Speaking of, I found these charming Beatrix Potter gift tags featuring guinea pigs working in the garden. These would make cute add-ons to easter baskets and¬†presents wrapped in Beatrix Potter Gift wrap. You could really make a Beatrix extravaganza if you wanted to! My inner child sure wants to that’s for sure.

*While Beatrix Potter is in the public domain, due to licensing conflicts with a previous publisher, I strongly recommend just using these images for personal use. Learn more here: http://www.hbook.com/2013/05/choosing-books/horn-book-magazine/peter-rabbit-and-the-tale-of-a-fierce-bad-publisher/

Vintage Illustrations from Twas’ the Night Before Christmas

And so it begins! It’s annual Christmas crafting time, and I can’t wait to start my series of antique holiday posts. This is FreeVintageillustration.com’s FIRST holiday season, so stay tuned for 1800’s German Christmas postcards, real Victorian holiday greetings, and more Christmas book illustrations like the ones below. And speaking of, there are so many wonderful vintage Christmas illustrations from antique children’s books. As one of the industry’s premiere illustrators, Jessie Willcox Smith illustrated an impressive number of Children’s books in the early 1900’s, like ‘Mother Goose’s Nursery Rhymes’, ‘A Child’s Garden of Versus’, ‘A Way to Wonderland’, and her popular ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas!’ I went through her version of Twas’ and selected my favorites which you can also use in your own Christmas projects.

Fun Facts about Jessie Willcox Smith!

Jessie Willcox smith was one of the most in-demand book illustrators of her time. Learn more about this amazing talent in the facts below.

  • Smith was born in 1863 and is considered an important figure from the “Golden Age” of American book and commercial illustration.
  • She Illustrated for Good Housekeeping and Ladies’ Home Journal for years
  • Illustrated the popular Mother Goose series from Good Housekeeping
  • Created all of Good Housekeeping Magazine’s covers from 1915 to 1933!
  • Smith illustrated more than 60 books
  • Enrolled in the Philidelphia School of Design for Women and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in 1885
  • Made one of the first advertisments for Ivory Soap

Vintage Color Illustrations From The Emerald City of Oz

Illustrator, John R. Neill, was behind all the artwork of Frank L Baum’searly 20th century publications of “The Wizard of Oz” series. ¬†I love these colorful, whimsical antique book illustrations. ¬†And there are so many to see in the public domain! ¬†Vintage children’s book illustration holds a unique place in art history and many of the best are residing in the public domain right now, making them free to use in online courses, blog posts, Powerpoint presentations, decoupage craft projects, inspire digital art and animation, homemade bookmaking, t-shirt designs, video game concepts, and many more personal and commercial projects.

The following gallery are Neill’s color illustrations from the 1910 publication of “The Emerald City of Oz.” ¬†This book was heavily inspired by Baum’s stay in Coronado and one of the best Wizard of Oz gift shops can be found at Coronado’s Hotel Del. ¬†Being a San Diego native and Oz fan, I always thought that was kind of cool, and I visited that shop every time I visited in December to see the hotel’s gargantuan Christmas tree.

Share these images with friends and fam who love Wizard of Oz too and visit the sources page for more great artworks and books in the public domain.

This public domain Emerald City gallery is also a helpful resource for teachers, art instructors, online teachers, art history/pop culture history/etc courses, filmmakers, historians, students, artists, designers, product developers, stationery ideas, story flashcards, set design, and many more projects.

The entire book is available to read online for FREE!

Free Vintage Christmas Illustrations in Color: From Vintage Children’s Books!

The holiday season is just around the corner. ¬†It’s a non-stop seasonal creating fest from Halloween to Valentine’s Day, so I’ve been sifting through digital public domain archives, bidding on vintage postcard lots on eBay, and going through my own vintage print collection to curate image galleries for the 2015 season. ¬†The holidays are full of inspiration for new DIY Christmas tree ornaments, gift wrap and textile design, ebooks, recipe books, decor and Etsy products. ¬†The following vintage color images are from antique children’s and fiction genre books and feature illustrations from E. Florence Mason, A.A Milne¬†and¬†Jessie Wilcox Smith. ¬†Share online or use in your educational and creative projects!

 

 

 
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Public Domain Spotlight: David Cory’s Children’s Stories PLUS Free Vintage Color Illustrations

I stumbled upon David’s Cory’s colorful 1920s children’s books while researching new vintage content. ¬†He’s penned such imaginative works as The Magic Soap Bubble, The Jumble Book, Billy Bunny and Daddy Fox, and The Little Jack Rabbit. ¬†All of which are represented in the vintage illustration gallery below! ¬†Cory was producing these stories around 1920 and were illustrated by such artists as M. L Kirk, S. Aspell, E.J Babock, Hugh Spencer, E.I Jones, P.H Webb, and H.S Barbour. ¬†These stories and vintage color illustrations are all in the Public Domain. ¬†Share these antique book illustrations online, add them to your blog, create unique room decorations, school supply designs, or re-imagine these works for video game plots, storytelling games, screenplays, arts and crafts, and many more creative projects.

More Creative Ideas

Stories and illustrations in the public domain hold a wealth of possibilities for creative projects.  Along with the aforementioned ideas above, these vintage illustrations from classic illustrators make excellent materials for decoupage, Christmas ornaments, antique style collages, digital art, and inspiration for fine art paintings.  Try cutting out the characters to create classic or digital stop-motion animations, miniature theater sets, shadow box art, and dioramas.