Seed Packet Illustrations

Vintage illustrations include those drawn for children's books, works of art chosen carefully for the covers of magazines, and copies of flora and fauna hand-drawn from observation for encyclopedias and other reference books. Some of the loveliest vintage art, for me, can be found on calendars, seed packets, and other, more utilitarian papers. As an … Continue reading Seed Packet Illustrations

April, Cardinals, and Birthdays

The late spring this year reminds me of childhood Aprils in Iowa, apple trees clothed in white blooms, warm grass beneath my feet, and the promise of warm days to come. Here in the Ozarks, spring often comes much earlier, woods coming alive in a parade of colour: redbuds, magnolias, and dogwoods (although not early this … Continue reading April, Cardinals, and Birthdays

Snowy Vintage Illustrations

Even though January can be dark and cloudy and the weather unpredictable, it can also be breathtakingly beautiful, even in a vintage illustration! Olive greens, browns, and deep reds remind us of robins, cardinals, holly, and evergreens, the bright spots of winter. Did you ever notice how you really see houses when they are highlighted by … Continue reading Snowy Vintage Illustrations

Christmas Illustrations in Literature

Illustrator Frances Brundage wishes us a Merry Christmas in 1910: If you could caption this postcard, what would you call it? Louisa May Alcott was no longer alive when Brundage began to illustrate re-printings of Alcott's beloved novels (the above drawing is not connected). I'm not sure the sweet-faced cherubs drawn by this idealistic, albeit … Continue reading Christmas Illustrations in Literature

Birds, Naturalists, and Writers

While working outside the other evening, I heard the unmistakable sound of a Bob White. Bob-Bob-White he called over and over. The sound transported me to my childhood in Iowa, where I would answer the bird-call and exult in his calling back to me again and again. Americans have had an obsession with birds since Audubon … Continue reading Birds, Naturalists, and Writers

Kate Greenaway and Vintage Illustrations

One of my favorite things about gutenberg.org and archive.org (both sites that offer books in the free domain) are the original illustrations found in copies of works from the 19th century and early 20th century. Kate Greenaway first caught my attention with her illustrations of Elizabeth von Arnim's April baby, May baby, and June baby. … Continue reading Kate Greenaway and Vintage Illustrations