Need some vintage visual inspiration – or a real antique elements for an illustration, design or motion project? Then check out the British Library's collection of over a million copyright-free images that essentially you can do whatever you like with. Read also: 9 great sites for free images
The British Library's collection of images on Flickr are taken from books it has its collection from the 17th, 18th and 19th Century – so well out of copyright – and are vaguely arranged by theme: such as book covers, cycling, illustrated lettering, comic art, ships or children's book illustration. There's also a collection of 'Highlights' that's a good place to start if you just want a general browse.
That there's any sense of order to the collection is a testament to the volunteers who have catalogued images posted to Flickr by the library's Mechanical Curator – a bot that randomly picks and posts images from the all of the books the library has digitised since 2013.
Both photos and illustrations are included, though unfortunately many of their creators aren't credited – merely the authors of the books they appear in.
Image: Illustration by Stanley Llewellyn Wood from Doctor Nikola, etc by Guy Newell Boothby. Found in the Highlights collection.
Illustration from The Sacred Gift. A series of meditations upon Scripture subjects by Charles Benjamin Tayler. Found in the Ships collection.
Illustration from Funny Books for Boys and Girls. Struwelpeter. Good-for-nothing Boys and Girls. Troublesome Children. King Nutcracker and Poor Reinhol. Found in the Chlidren's Book Illustration collection.
Illustration by Mrs John Charles Melliss from St. Helena: a physical, historical, and topographical description of the island by John Charles Melliss. Found in the Flora collection.