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.

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Free Vintage Children’s Book Illustrations of Fairies and Elves from 1918

There are neverending ideas for fairy and elf inspired projects. I love shining a light on awesome fairylore that’s available to the public, and fortunately, the public domain is packed with classic fairy stories and illustrations to use and modify for your children’s libraries, after school programs, paintings, Etsy products, reimagined fairy stories, and more creative projects. These vintage children’s book illustrations come from the Frances Jenkins Olcott classic, The Book of Elves and Fairies, and were illustrated by Milo Winter. Milo’s work here is considered a representation of The Golden Age of Children’s Book Illustration which spanned the late 19th century to the early 1940s. The book has around 50 different kinds of fairy stories and features titles like “The Boy who Found the Pot of Gold”, which tells the tale of a young boy who meets a Leprechaun for example. You’ll also find stories about winter fairies and more mythical seasonal creatures.

 

These images were curated from a digital copy of an original publication found in the public domain and edited by this site. These images are entirely free to use in your personal, commercial, and educational work without permission. Please give credit to FreeVintageIllustrations.com when posting these images on your blogs, websites, and social media pages.

Free Vintage Color Illustrations of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Did you know that the original title of ‘Snow White’ was ‘Snow Drop?’ I learned some fun facts about one of my favorite fairytales while searching for antique examples of the book. This particular gallery features color illustrations from a 1913 version of the story. These copyright-free images are in the public domain and can be used for making greeting cards, homemade books, posters, mug designs, and many more creative projects. The seven dwarves illustration are particularly versatile and would make great crafting material for general holiday and fantasy-themed art projects as well.

 

Fun Facts about Snow White!

  • A German fairy tale written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, otherwise known as the Brothers Grimm
  • The original title of Snow White was Sneewittchen or “Snowdrop”
  • The first edition of Snow White was published in 1812 and the final revision for the book was released in 1854
  • Snow White was turned into a Broadway play in 1912. The Broadway version of the story was the first to give the seven dwarves their own names.
  • The Disney version changed the names of the seven dwarves and eventually coined the names we know and love today
  • There are a few theories about the inspiration for Snow White. A German historian in 1994 theorized that Snow White may have been inspired by real-life German Countess, Margarete von Waldeck. Some accounts claim that Margarete’s stepmother forced her to move away to Brussels where she fell for man who would go on to become Spain’s Phillip II. However, both Margarete’s stepmother and father disapproved of the match, and Margarete supposedly died from being poisoned shortly thereafter.
  • Snow White could possibly be based on a girl named Maria Sophia von Erthal. Maria’s father was a wealthy landowner and widow who eventually married a new woman, Claudia Elisabeth von Venningen. According to 18th-century accounts, Claudia notoriously disliked her own stepchildren and had a special mirror that spoke. That legendary mirror now lives in a museum and was actually a special acoustical-mechanical toy.

 

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!

 

 

 
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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.