Biodiversity Heritage Library Puts 2 Million Botanical Illustrations Online for Free

Biodiversity Heritage Library Puts 2 Million Botanical Illustrations Online for Free
If you’re fascinated by nature and botanical illustrations, you’ll be thrilled by the Biodiversity Heritage Library. This open access digital library focuses on bringing the natural world closer to people through access to writings and illustration. Thanks to the dedication of BHL staff and readers, over 100,000 images and photographs from the collection have been uploaded to their popular Flickr account since 2011.

Divided up clearly into albums by publication, the account is a surprisingly huge success for the organization, opening up the world of nature illustration to a new audience. A dive into the photostream shows everything from 19th-century volumes on the birds of Australia to an odd grouping of bat illustrations. And, of course, there are the botanicals. French, German, English, and South African journals have all been lovingly scanned, providing a fascinating look at the biodiversity that exists—or existed—throughout these countries.

If you really want to dive deep into the world of nature and botanical illustrations, there’s another photostream of tagged photos that provides a huge grab bag of over 2 million illustrations and photographs. Wondering how beekeepers dressed in 1910? You’ll find it here along with enough glorious plant illustrations to quench your thirst for nature.

Millions of vintage wildlife and botanical illustrations from journals around the world are available for free thanks to the Biodiversity Heritage Library’s Flickr account.

Biodiversity Heritage Library

Plantæ utiliores. 1842-1850

free botanical illustrations online

Plantæ utiliores. 1842-1850

Biodiversity Heritage Library: Website | Flickr

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Christiana Polycarpou

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