19 Engaging Vintage Illustrations

If you’ve been reading my monday morning posts you may have noticed that I have a thing for public domain imagery. I am incredibly inspired by vintage illustrations, and old type faces. There is something both familiar and strange about them that really appeals to me.

Recently, I have come across image after image that I am completely enthralled by. I have put together a collection of some of my favorites for your viewing (or photoshoping) pleasure.

Click on images for link back to the source. All images via the British Library.


From Red Apple and Silver Bells. A book of verse for children, illustrated by A. B. Woodward


From The Story of Africa and its Explorers, 1896. This book has many beautiful illustrations.


From Songs for Little People, illustration by H. Stratton


From Songs for Little People, illustration by H. Stratton


From Red Apple and Silver Bells. A book of verse for children, illustrated by A. B. Woodward


From Sing-Song. A nursery rhyme book, illustrations by A. Hughes (I know exactly how she feels!)

11238065273_63fd7d0498_bFrom Poems and Pictures … A new edition, 1860. 

11170353234_114b25aa35_bFrom Verses for Grannie. Suggested by the children, illustrated by D. A. H. Drew


From Every-day Characters, illustrated by C. Aldin.

11241528924_f1b80e736d_bFrom The Ingoldsby Legends, illustrations by George Cruikshank and John Leech

11238252694_8ae53a95ac_bFrom Songs of Love and Death, 1896



11238214344_3b55b51662_bFrom The Half Hour Library of Travel, Nature and Science for young readers, 1896


From Viaggio in Inghilterra e nella Scozia passando per la Germania, 1859.

11238215474_502782f69f_bSomeone’s parents weren’t very imaginative.

11238297093_df442efc91_bFrom A collection of ballads printed in London. Formed by T. Crampton, 1860. (Creepy much?)

11290273115_95c4e2f0b6_bFrom Lilliput Lyrics, illustrated by Chas. Robinson

11287819436_e3b5185306_bFrom Lilliput Lyrics, illustrated by Chas. Robinson 

I was so intrigued by this image that I had to read the book (I mean what the F could be going on here, this was made in 1899). Turn out it’s a story about a giant who is planning on eating all the babies in the village.

“And now I think I could eat a score

of babies so plump and small;

And if, after that, I should want any more,

Their brothers and sisters and all. “

He gets thwarted from his plan by a clever boy who sets up spikes for him to step on. The villagers, especially the children, feel sorry for him after he’s hurt and take care of him. Their kindness ultimately changes something inside him and he becomes a friendly giant.

 “And it was high and broad and long,

And a hundred years it stood,

To tell of the Giant so cruel and strong

That kindness had made good.”

Hope you enjoyed!



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