Where can I find out of copyright botanical engravings?
October 18, 2006 3:58 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find copyright/royalty-free botanical engravings? I'm looking more images like those on the last page of The Grammar of Ornament. Printed catalogues, modern (copyright/royalty-free) books, or antique books that I can scan are fine (I have access to one of the UK's desposit libraries). Online sources would ideally be at a high-resolution suitable for printing, but if they're lo-res, I'd still love to take a look. Like I say, I'm particularly interested in botanical images, but sources of anything decorative and ca. 19th century are very welcome. Sadly, I can't use advertising, text or images of people.
posted by caek to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Bibliodyssey would be your goat, but it's not loading for me right now. Here's the cache from Sunday to give you an idea. There's some botanical images down the right hand side.
posted by einekleine at 4:43 AM on October 18, 2006

You can get a lot of images from Briar Press (b&w woodcuts, but lots of cool stuff) and also this blogger got his cool images from Grey's Anatomy (the book, not the TV show) which is in the public domain, so you might search Project Gutenberg.
posted by Brittanie at 4:53 AM on October 18, 2006

Dover Publications
posted by dragonsi55 at 6:08 AM on October 18, 2006

The Missouri Botanical Garden has scanned a lot of their rare books and has them online in a pretty easy to access format including a tag cloud. The scans are NOT copyright free but the images in the books generally are, so it depends what you're looking to do. They have their books viewable via Botanicus and also all tagged and linked in del.icio.us/illustratedgarden
posted by jessamyn at 6:33 AM on October 18, 2006

You might enjoy Ernst Haeckel's "Art Forms in Nature"
posted by adamrice at 7:02 AM on October 18, 2006

Dover Publications has the color plates from Grammar of Ornament -- print only, although if you search the site, there are tons of similar collections with CDs as well.

Online only -- try Clipart.com. Lots of cheesy MSWord-type clipart but if you restrict your search to B&W illustrations, you'll find some good stuff. (Mostly from Dover, actually.)

It's a bit of a pain to search but you can try the collage images pool on Flickr. "May Offend" is a similar Flickr group. (You have to join to access images but it's free.)
posted by vetiver at 12:27 PM on October 18, 2006

I would scour History of Medicine sources, engravings like this will be found under the heading of materia medica often, or will be labeled as "herbals."

A few things to try: Elizabeth Blackwell's A Curious Herbal, 1737-1739, from the British Library; Index of Medieval Medical Images from UCLA, try just typing in "herbs" and you get a few hundred hits (for starters); and Herbarius Latinus, ca. 1486 from Yale.
posted by taber at 5:22 PM on October 19, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks very much everyone. That's exactly what I was after, and plenty to be getting on with!

(One note, for my reference as much as anyone elses: apparently the best way to search BibliOdyssey is via it's del.icio.us account.)
posted by caek at 1:10 PM on October 20, 2006

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