Friday, April 2, 2010

Natural Curiosities

While strolling around town one morning with my dog enjoying this incredible weather I spotted these prints in a store window. I've always loved the look of framed vintage botanical prints but I found these scientific drawings of bugs, sharks, and other creatures even more appealing. I snapped this photo with my cellphone to add to my inspiration files and almost forgot all about it. That is until just a few days ago when iDiY shared an great resource for vintage printable historical scientific illustrations.

Scientific Illustrations

The best part about the Vintage Printables website is that all images are public domain and free for download and printing. It doesn't get much better than that and I'll tell you why. I can guarantee you the prints in the store window cost well over $100 a piece. Granted they are framed and are pages from an book instead of prints but to create a gallery wall with them would be very expensive. Instead I can print out to my hearts content and create my own wall of curiosities for just the price of the frames. Speaking of frames, does anyone have suggestions of where I could find simple but a slightly traditional looking frames like the ones in the photo? My go to source for frames is usually Ikea but that look wouldn't really work with these vintage prints.

For those of you are interested in gorgeous vintage botanical illustrations there are plenty to choose from. If you are like me and would prefer scientific illustrations of odd vegetation or creatures, the site is really a treasure trove.

I studied marine biology and work as an environmental consultant which explains why I picked mostly sea creatures to display. If you're prefer something different, take some time to explore the site. They have a selection of egg prints that are to die for.


  1. Hi Michelle,
    thanks so much for the post. I love vintage prints and this site is just the perfect place to look for design elements!

  2. Oooh!!! love love love! thanks! I was checking out the Cavallini butterfly print ( myself but since these are free, I can resist!

  3. I love the mushroom print from Cavallini
    framing pretty gift wrap is another great idea for affordable artwork.

  4. Michelle - for frames, what about buying up interesting/decorative ones at yard sales and then, if you felt you needed to, spray painting them all the same color - maybe a glossy black?

  5. Tnx Michelle. I'm really going to use some of these prints to decorate my new home...

  6. I have to say I really love these. I always think a collection of framed botanical prints looks really beautiful, but the eggs sounds interesting too. :) Gonna have to take a peek at that one too.

    Bre @

  7. What an awesome resource! Thank you SO much for sharing this! Just awesome...

  8. yep, stellar resource. found you and it via the lovely mel above me here.

    coolest link in ages, cheers.

    jules :)

  9. I LOVE this post - am having a Darwin moment at the moment so reading it has just made me all the more excited (there's a big exhibition coming to our part of the world soon)- am so bookmarking this post, thanks! V x

  10. A little late for a suggestion, but if you like marine science and biology you will love the Biodiversity Heritage library on Flickr. Ten major natural history museums teamed up to digitize biology texts, journals, guides, and the scientific illustrations within them. There are new images added regularly, too!


  11. @Anonymous Very cool Maggy, I will definitely check that out.