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 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.