19th Century Illustrations of African Wildlife

19th century color illustration of a rhinoceros in Africa

It’s Saturday! And I’m ready to spend some much-need quality time in the public domain.

So I was reading up on Africa’s animals and ecology and fell down another rabbit hole.

I whipped up this post from my pile of vintage scraps at home, an African scenery book from 1804, and a vintage zoological journal. These images span early to mid-late 19th century, putting them in the public domain.

Of my scraps, several are originally from old cigarette boxes and advertisements for everyday objects.

5 Awesome Projects You Can Do with Free Safari Illustrations

The holidays are right around the corner, so now’s a good time to start brainstorming DIY gifts, make-your-own school 19th century zebra from vintage advertisement - public domainsupplies, greeting cards, gifts for crafters, and a whole host of fun stuff.

Animal Alphabet Flashcards

Print-Your-Own Animal Wrapping Paper

DIY Safari Greeting Cards for Birthday Parties 

Hidden Picture Games and Artwork

DIY Shrinky Dinks!

 

19th century vintage print of a zebra study - public domain

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Zebras

  • There are three species of zebra: Burchell’s zebra (also know as a plains zebra), Grevy’s zebra, and the Equus zebra.
  • So why do zebras have stripes? There have been several theories, but recent studies reveal that stripes may have evolved to keep zebras cool.
  • Zebras will often socialize with antelope herds for protection.
  • Like your fingerprints, no two zebras will have the same stripes.
  • Each zebra species has their own stripe patterns, varying in width. Zebras that live on the southern plains have stripes that are further apart.

Get 15 more fascinating facts on zebras from the Mother Nature Network!

19th century color illustration of African scenery with elephants - public domain

More Free Resources About African Animals and Ecology

19th century vintage illustration of leopard - public domain

The web is packed with free resources on African animals, ecology, environment, safari, and more. Bookmark the following for your next project.

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Free Vintage Easter Illustration of a Yellow Bird with Birdcage

I have a lovely collection of vintage illustrations and scrapbooking die cuts at home, and this little guy has always been one of my favorites. I’ve been wanting to upload him for a while, and with Easter around the corner, I thought it would be the perfect occasion. If you’re scrambling to make your DIY crafts and gifts, this charming Easter bird and birdcage would make a This is a free vintage Easter illustration of a yellow bird in a floral birdcagefun addition to your DIY Easter cards, holiday scrapbooking, collages, spring blog posts, and email newsletters!

 

 

 

 

Free Antique Illustrations of Valentines Day Cupids and Cherubs

I’m snowed in today!  So it’s a perfect time to get some blogging done. I still have Valentines Day on the brain and couldn’t wait to share these lovely antique illustrations of cherubs and cupids. These are great for vintage-style Valentines, Etsy gifts, greeting cards, collages, and more.  I used Pixlr to bring out more color in the illustrations.  Created by Autodesk, Pixlr is a wonderful and FREE open source editing tool that’s simple to use.  I would also suggest checking out more of their free design tools like Sketchbook Pro and Homebuilder. If you’re student with an .edu email address, you can also access a lot of their paid software for free as well. Love those student perks!

Anyhoo, without further ado, here are 8 lovely free vintage illustrations of cherubs, cupids, and angels that are perfect for your creative Valentine’s Day projects! P.S, if you’re looking for interesting facts and history about cherubs, don’t forget the fun facts at the end of this post.

Fun Facts for Valentines Day: The History of Cupid and Cherubs

  • Cupid, also known as Eros, was a popular figure in Greek and Roman Mythology.  His mother was Venus (Aphrodite), and he shot people with love-poisoned bows and arrows to make them fall in love, ensuring his mother’s power. 
  • In a 2nd century book by the ancient Roman philosopher, Lucius Apuleius, Cupid was accidently scratched by his own bow and arrows.  This made him fall in love with a mortal human named Psyche.  
  • While cupid didn’t start out with a “cherub” baby-like look in mythology, he gradually took on that form as Renaissance-era artists began depicting the famous mythological hero as such. Cherubs began to exclusively symbolize love AND innocence, making them an appealing subject for Antique Valentines.
  • The word Cherub comes from the Hebrew term, cherubim.  They first appeared in the bible in The Garden of Eden. 
  • These “winged angelic beings” appear in a variety of artwork across cultures. Specifically, they served or assisted that culture’s God or Gods. For example, in Assyrian-Babylonian culture, cherubs, or karabus, served Babylonian gods known as the shedu, who took the form of winged bulls with human heads.

 

These vintage illustrations are no longer under copyright and are free to use in your personal, commercial, and educational projects without permission. These images were scanned and edited from my own personal collection of antique illustrations. Please credit FreeVintageIllustrations.com when posting these images on your own websites, blogs, and social media pages.

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.

These images are copyright-free, and you are free to use them in your personal, commercial, and educational projects without permission. These images were scanned and uploaded from my own personal collection of antique materials. A link back to this site is required if you post or share these images on your blog, website, online store, social media pages, or any other web page.