Friday, July 18, 2014

Caturday Free Digital Download

I'm up to the "C"s in the Encyclopedia American. I had fun today getting two pages of cat pictures touched up. The paper was damaged so I removed the background and filled it in with a soft buff colour. You can get the full size version of this one for free here - just right click on the image and select "Save Image As..".

If you'd like both pages without the watermark, check out the listing on my new Etsy store, Seagull Island Digital:

Cats - Antique Illustrations Digital Download

Use coupon CATURDAY10 for a %10 discount on this or anything else in the store.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Encyclopedia Overload!

I received the most wonderful Valentine's present this year. On that Friday a work friend dropped off two boxes of old, tattered, mouse eaten encyclopedias! She was clearing out her mother's house and couldn't figure out what to do with them. She asked around the office and I couldn't say yes fast enough - she even told me that I was doing her a favour. Better than chocolate if you ask me and much better than this treasure ending up in the landfill!

A box of mouse nibbled, water damaged, mouse nibbled treasure.
Look at all this vintage goodness!

As far as I can tell, there are two full sets. One is The Americana, published by Scientific American in 1913. It is full of great plates of animals, machines, art, architecture and so much more. The second one is a children's set titled The Book of Knowledge which has fewer plates but plenty of interesting stories, lessons and crafts to share. My plan is to go through each volume and post some of my favourite images.

Title page of Volume 1 - A-ARE
The Americana, A Universal Reference Library

Lets begin with The Americana, Volume 1 - A-ARE. We are starting off with a bang because one of the first double page plates is this wonderful collection of flying machines.

A two page spread of marvelous flying machines!
A two page spread of marvelous flying machines!

This the largest of several plates from the sections on Aerial Locomotion and Aeroplanes. These books were published just 10 years after the Wright Brothers' famous flight at Kitty Hawk so heavier than air powered flight was still a pretty new concept. There are also many beautifully detailed illustrations of the various types of aeroplanes being flown at that time; unfortunately the text paper is very thin and I'm not sure if I can get a good scan of them (but I'll try!)

This volume contains many interesting black and white and colour plates that cover such diverse subjects as African Art, Alaskan Animals, American Agriculture, Amphibia, Architecture. There are also many two-page colour maps including Africa, the Arctic and the Antarctic.

The next volume is ARE-BEH which includes Armour, Asiatic Art, Automobiles, Baboons, Bears and Bees (oh my!).