Wednesday, August 4, 2021
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Antique Illustrations : Medieval At It’s Best


Stunning. Elegant. Antique. Most of all, free.

These illustrations released by the British Library are something to behold.

Check them out here : Flickr – British Library

Made open for the public to use, these photos were posted by the British Library to keep up with their theme of being the largest open source institution in the world. One of the noticeable things about how such a huge collection was posted online and with such ease and uniformity is the Library’s Mechanical Curator, explained as hence –

“The project, started in 2013, uses the library’s “Mechanical Curator” to randomly choose images or curiosities from public domain books in its digitized collection, which includes over 65,000 books from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The Mechanical Curator was created in the Library’s own lab, and you can see it in action on a Twitter bot, which publishes an image every hour.”

Here’s the bot in live action : Mechanical Curator’s Twitter
Plus Point Alert – It’s quite witty.


The collection itself is very varied, with pictures ranging from colonial photographs to vintage illustrations, fancy hand lettering to cultural depictions in forms of film images. It’s like a huge vintage Pinterest board running completely on it’s own!

Now, why is it valuable to us?

Well, why should it not be? Vintage, classic, beautiful. These designs can be used from enhancing web designs when it comes to relating it to anything vintage, or the elegant ornaments can be used in interiors and otherwise, basically everywhere. These illustrations can even be morphed into something completely new, and let’s not start discussing what all can be done with those exquisite hand lettered fonts. Pretty.


Let’s look at some of these to verse ourselves better with the varied range of these illustrations.



Pictures ranging from inside a low-income farmer’s house to a warrior coming home after a war, victorious.


Some of these also explain geological aspects of these times, with some explaining the insides of a then-country.


Designs for interiors, ranging from simple elegant borders to elaborate floor plans can also be found.


There’s nothing these illustrations haven’t got covered. A virtual tour of the previous era, quite suitable to call these.



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