Great list of links to websites for public domain vintage images that will make your search easier.
Dear image searcher and dear reader,
As some of you may already know, I’ve been quite a successful contributor to Pixabay for a few years now, among other things. By the way, yesterday I cracked the 9 million mark of my downloads. Yeah! 🙂 But that’s not my topic today.
Since I love to digitally design vintage style images for scrapbooking and always look for public domain material under CC0 license (Creative Commons), plenty of bookmarks have collected in my browser that I would like to share with you.
I have great things in mind and want to gather as many pages of free vintage material to honor the wonderful antique art so we can create new art together again. This way old and new art stays connected in a wonderful way.(Dorothe )
This post is not about explaining the CC0 license and what versions there are. The best way to find out for yourself is to follow this link .
I have created my list to the best of my knowledge. However, please ALWAYS check before downloading on the respective page, whether the images actually still fall under public domain.
And here we go with the link list for antique material
Of course, you can also find ready-made illustrations and background images for scrapbooking as direct downloads on my CC0 page: Darkmoon-Art
My house and court page for antique illustrations, including the scanned books, currently has almost 6 million illustrations in the database. If you can’t find anything there, it’s your own fault. 🙂 The illustrations downloadable there are still unprocessed and with background. I always check this link in the Internet Archive, because you get the best sorting here. Public domain images in the Internet Archive Book Images
In one of my blog posts I already showed in detail how you can download whole books from Internet Archive Book Images and load them into Photoshop. You can find that post here: How to find antique public domain images and import them into Photoshop
I actually discovered the Heritage Library only recently and I’m really happy about this net find. Here you get small, well sorted packages of free vintage materials in PNG and SVG. If you have bigger plans, you can also buy corresponding packages in the Heritage Shop.
So that the post does not become even longer by images, I will continue now only with the list of free CC0 images with link.
- 4. On glanzbild.blogspot Zauberfee has been making beautiful glossy images freely available to the general public for years, which I find quite wonderful. A rich smorgasbord of antique Victorian die cut.
- 5. Not to forget of course Wikipedia, which provides a fabulously large database of information along with images. Here is just one example with antique maps – the Carta Marina . The search for public domain antique images is a bit more complex and please note that under each image is written how it can be used. Especially with Fashion Plates (fashion dolls) pay attention to what the license is. Here is an example
- 6. CC Search has its task already in its name. This site also provides you with countless results in the CC0 area. Enter in the search e.g. fashion plate (i.e. fashion doll for the Victorian illustrations) and you will get plenty of beautiful Victorian ladies in their beautiful dresses shown. Here is an example.
- 7. Europeana Public Domain Images for Artists shows you over 2 million wonderful images in the public domain, including mainly antique artworks (paintings).
- 8. The British Library can be found on several websites. Personally, I like to take a look via Flickr. The Library currently has about 1.2 million scanned vintage images parked in the CC0 area for free download. Help yourselves and make new, beautiful artworks out of these old works… 🙂
- 9. We continue to the Birmingham Museums Trust. Here you will also find many public domain artworks such as topography or oil painting. A selection of the museum is also on the pages of Unsplash in a very good quality.
- 10. And now hold on…now it goes to the public domain postcards . I came across this site in the course of my search for the audiobook publisher hm-audiobooks. for whom I designed some covers with just such vintage images. And I was immediately fascinated. Have I piqued your interest? Then go here to Zeno.org. Neatly sorted. Furthermore you can find over 5000 picture postcards via this link here. And have a look at the greeting cards from back then…wonderful.
- 11. The Graphics Fairy – Now we come to another favorite site from my personal link list, which also offers a rich collection of antique illustrations/ephemera/paper etc in high quality. You can sign up for a mail list there and you will be sent a regular selection of free vintage images from various areas with a link. You can then download the images. Most of the illustrations are JPG with white background. If this is enough for you, you can be very satisfied with the yield. But there is also a “Premium Membership”, which is a membership you can sign up for and which can be cancelled monthly. For about 12,-EUR per month (and I chose this comfortable way) you get these daily mails incl. links to the pictures. But the best thing is that I have much more comfort as a premium member. I get once a week a complete, high quality bundle sorted by themes with already released content, high resolution paper, PDFs with printable materials like bookmarks, tags and so on. Plus everything in SVG and brushes on top. There are good online courses for digital scrapbooking, as well as crafts. The ladies who run this site are incredible at what they do. I decided to join after many months because I get really high quality already exempted or revised for my store, which I would otherwise have to do all myself. In addition, I also like to still learn something and all this is a good package for the price. But as mentioned at the beginning… you can also use this site completely free of charge, like I do. Nevertheless, we store operators must also finance everything, so that everything runs so and you can read this here at all. 🙂 Enough words about The Graphics Fairy. Have a look and make yourself a picture.
Time for a break. Maybe you feel like a little menu….. 🙂
- 12. we travel satisfied to the place where there are these delightful menu cards. Namely, you can find this and many more such vintage menu cards at the New York Public Library’s. The illustrations and also handwriting are great to use in scrapbooking. The downloading is a bit inconveniently designed. You have to click on what does not belong to the picture. For that you have to have looked at it before. After that you are asked for a donation. You can do it, but you don’t have to. Keep in mind, these databases live of course from receiving small donations, so that they can be operated, which of course also applies to my site. If you enter e.g. germany in the search function of the New York Public Library’s, you will get 6236 images. That’s again an extensive yield in this genre alone.
- 13. Now we descend further into the depths of the www and land again on a very interesting site that offers us, among other things (while we were on the subject of food), handwritten cooking recipes – again in the public domain, of course – for download. The book covers of some copies alone are wonderful, the handwritten recipes as well, of course. And if you want, you can try one or the other recipe and tell us how it tasted. 🙂 Oh well… the site I’m referring to is called DIY History. And you can find the old recipe books behind this link. But also all other categories are highly interesting and can result in fine material for your work again, depending on your creativity 😉
- 14. Free Vintage Digi Stamps by Pamela takes us back to Victorian type materials and later times up to about 1960. Pamela shares many of her collected works with us here and makes them available for download. On the right side of her page a little further down you will find “Categories” and below that are sorted illustrations including epherema (ads, logos, etc.). Click on them and they are ready for download. 🙂
- 15. At Open Culture you will find not only the above recipe books, but the site is a smorgasbord for many areas, from free ebooks, movies and…and..and. If you like to browse…or want to see something other than vintage stuff 😉
- 16. Of course you can also find many vintage/scrapbook images and illustrations on Pixabay. Here there is the own Pixabay license, which says “do not use or sell the images unchanged. This should not be a problem if you use the illustrations to create new artwork.
Vintage is fun and you even learn a lot
Now I have already spent an hour or two online digging through the old books and illustrations. Sometimes I get “stuck” on a picture and download the book to get more information and it’s fantastic what I learn over time about “back then” to a picture. Whether it’s travelogues or even logbook entries or even books about architecture. To look in, to marvel and so to get to know the past time is really fantastic. And it’s great that these opportunities are made available to us for free by scanning entire books and other media in these cases. I think it should be appreciated and not taken 1:1 and make money with the work of others.
My main goal, as I wrote above, is to create new images from the vintage illustrations again. Whether these are then sold or offered for free, is up to everyone. But a little bit of work should go into it, because it honors the “old masters” with their art. That is my opinion.
Your assistance is expressly desired
Which websites do you like the most? Where do you look to get material for vintage images?
Do you know online sites that would fit my list or do you offer CC0 images in the vintage area yourself? Then it would be great if we could expand the list together. Write me with a link and I will add the address to my collection after checking it.
Please note! This is only about public domain images and illustrations from the vintage area. A detailed list of all other images/photos etc. that can be found on the internet with CC0 license will be posted soon.
I hope my information will help you to find useful public domain images under CC0 license. You are welcome to use the comment function to express criticism, suggestions or errors, etc..
Dorothe from Darkmoon-Art