Fall Illustrations: 19th Century Autumn Leaves and Scenery

Vintage pumpkin illustration from a 19th century postcard in the public domain

Happy Sunday!

I just got back from Thacher park, and yep, the fall colors were definitely awesome.

The New York State Library also has some neat autumn images of their own. These fall illustrations come from the library’s public domain collection and span the 19th century.

I cleaned these images up in Pixlr but you can find the originals under the ‘autumn’ and ‘fall leaves’ tags in the NYPL database.

A 19th century fall illustration of a house on a lake in autumn - public domain

Why Do the Leaves Change in Fall?

Good question!

Here’s what National Geographic has to say about it:

Evergreen trees, for example, are coniferous, so they have a protective waxy coating on their leaves which protects them during winter. Deciduous trees like birch and maple don’t have that protective coating, so they shed their leaves in fall.

Fall illustrations of autumn leaves in the public domain

But What Makes Them Change Color?

Before deciduous trees shed their leaves, they have to pull whatever nutrients they can, like nitrogen.

During this time, leaves also slow down photosynthesis and chlorophyll production (which is responsible for that leafy green color.) This gives carotenoids their time to shine, as these are the natural warm-colored pigments hiding beneath chlorophyll.

The process of recouping more nitrogen and phosphorus, coupled with the slowing down of photosynthesis, is what creates the beautiful fall colors we know and love.

More Free Resources for Fall

Need ideas for fall? Check out the links below!


Free Vintage Public Domain Illustrations of Red Meat, Seafood, and Poultry Dishes

Now I’m hungry! I just finished combing through the turn-of-the-century cookbook, “Mrs. Beeton’s Household Management”. Published in 1907, this antique cookbook comes packed with some really amazing color illustration plates of dinners, desserts, and appetizers. I came away with a lot of material, so stay tuned for more upcoming posts from this book. First up, meat! This book has some rich and colorful illustrations of butcher meat, fancy meat dishes and meat pies, fish dishes, and poultry dishes like roasts and turkey. These images make wonderful materials for culinary-themed crafts, school projects, blog images, unique vintage crafts, and many more creative projects.

Culinary Themed Craft Ideas!

Ever been stumped on what to give your foodie or chef friend? Rather than chance it with an appliance they already have or a soup they might dislike, you can use free vintage illustrations of meat to create awesome DIY gifts instead. Even if you’re not the “crafty” type, cutting and pasting vintage illustrations is a quick and easy solution for greeting cards, decoupage boxes, scrapbooks, or memory boards. Try out some of these ideas with the illustrations above!

1. Screenprint a wooden cutting board

2. Screenprint on fabric to create unique napkins

3. Create a canvas print for the kitchen, dining room, or breakfast nook

4. Make cool greeting cards for Thanksgiving!

5. Decoupage a serving tray

6. Create a decoupaged wooden pantry box

7. Decoupage tin canisters that can be used to store spices and four

These images are in the public domain and may be used and modified for your personal and commercial projects without permission.

Free Vintage Thanksgiving Illustrations for all Your Festive Projects!

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, so here I am continuing the next wave of Thanksgiving themed posts! This time, I come armed with more antique free vintage Thanksgiving greetings, postcards, and book illustrations. These make great materials for Thanksgiving decoupage projects, napkin fabric prints, coasters, greeting cards, Zazzle projects, and placemats. Find more DIY Thanksgiving craft ideas below the gallery!

Thanksgiving Craft Ideas

With Thanksgiving on the brain, more and more ideas keep popping into my head. These are ideas that I’ve either tried before or would really like to but just can’t find the time (a.k.a I’m lazy.) These are all creative ways to incorporate free vintage illustrations into your crafts. Simply print out your favorite Thanksgiving images above to start working on these projects. Please try these at home!

1. Autumn floral bouquet inserts

2. Laminated Thanksgiving Placemats for the kids

3. Laminated Thanksgiving Placemats WITH dry-erase marker activities

4. Framed fabric prints for the kitchen

5. Decoupage a wooden box for a floral centerpiece

6. Create a Thanksgiving coloring book for the kids

7. Print out images on skrinky-dinks vellum to create unique Thanksgiving jewelry

8. Create your own Thanksgiving themed gift wrap

9. Create a classic framed print for house decoration

10. Print out and decorate Thanksgiving greeting cards

11. Invites for your Thanksgiving party


Gobble! Gobble! A Free Antique Thanksgiving Postcard for Your Crafts!

Okay It’s been a while, but I’m full of ideas AND new vintage scans for the upcoming holiday season. Ebay and the antique malls here in North Carolina have been good to me, and I’ve been finding all sorts of good stuff. Like this antique American-themed Thanksgiving card that came my way via ebay. You don’t see nearly as much vintage Thanksgiving illustrations floating around. But if you dig really deep online you can strike gold, which is exactly what I intend to do after this post. I hope you enjoy this new vintage Thanksgiving illustration. Please use it for your crafts, blog, art inspiration, commercial work,¬†collages, etc, you name it!

A public domain antique thanksgiving card illustration.


This image was scanned and uploaded from the personal collection of FreeVintageillustrations.com. This image is free to use and modify for both personal and commercial work without permission and without attribution. However, Attribution to this site is required if you’re sharing this image on your site or social media pages in the original form you see above.