The British Library has released 1,019,992 images on a Flickr profile, for anyone to use, remix, and repurpose.
The images were scanned by Microsoft from 17th, 18th, and 19th-century books, who then gifted all digitized images to The British Library. The library released them back into the public domain.
You’ll find in the collection not only illustrations from novels but also maps, diagrams, satirical images, wall paintings, as well as decorative design elements.
Most importantly, the British Library is encouraging users to use the illustrations in a creative way:
The British Library’s collections on Flickr Commons offer access to millions of public domain images, which we encourage you to explore and re-use. The release of these collections into the public domain represent the Library’s desire to improve knowledge of and about them, to enable novel and unexpected ways of using them.
These 35 illustrations from below are just a tiny bit from the sea of wonderfully mastered images that you can use as an inspiration and a base for everything you could possibly think of: from a fan-based art to book covers, to e-cards, to literary t-shirt design.
35 free images from classic books, ready to use
1. Oliver Twist
Free image from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Illustration by George Cruickshank. From an edition published in 1838. ⇢ See all images from the book.
2-6. Pride and Prejudice
Images from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Illustrator: Charles E. Brock. From an edition published by Macmillan & Co. in 1895. ⇢ All images from the book.
7-11. Gulliver’s Travels
Images taken from Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. The book was published in 1894 in London, by Blackie & Son. ⇢ All images from the book.
Images from Shirley by Charlotte Brontë. Published by Service & Paton in 1897. ⇢ More images from the book.
15-17. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Free images from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The book was published in 1892 by G. Newnes. ⇢ See all images.
18. Treasure Island
Image from page 345 of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. It comes from an edition published in 1897 in London by Cassell & Co. ⇢ All images from the book.
19-22. Jane Eyre
Images from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. From an edition published by Walter Scott in 1897. Illustrations by Edmund H. Garrett. ⇢ All images.
23. A Tale of Two Cities
Image from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. From 1899 edition by Chapman & Hall. It’s the only image int he book illustrating the plot. ⇢ More details.
24-27. Life on the Mississippi
Images from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain. From an edition published in 1883 in Boston by J. R. Osgood & Co. ⇢ All images from the book.
28-32. The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
Free images from The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. 20 illustrations by Kauffman, from an edition published in 1884 by T. Fisher Unwin. ⇢ All images from the book.
33-35. The Works of Shakespeare
Free images from The Works of Shakespeare. From an edition pubished in 1825 for the Proprietors of the “London Stage,” by Sherwood, Jones & Co. Illustrations by W. Harvey. ⇢ All images from the book.
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Keep exploring. Here are recent lists published on Ebook Friendly: