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Amazing Vintage Elephant Illustrations and Drawings

A collection of free vintage zoological prints, that just focus on Elephant illustrations and drawings. A couple of illustrations showing how to draw elephants is included.

There are elephant examples already featured on the site, in the animal posters from the Larousse Dictionaries and Charles D’ Orbigny’s animal prints. But this post just focuses solely on elephants.

I really enjoyed compiling this wonderful collection of royalty-free elephant prints from old natural history books, art and museum collections. They are one of my favourite animals.

Amazingly, I once saw an elephant in the wild in Sri Lanka as a child. The excitement of that experience is still imprinted in my brain many decades later.

Not only are elephants the largest living animal on land, but they don’t look like anything else either. They are so unique looking, with their long trunks, large floppy ears and wide legs.

Elephants have had an important cultural role to play in human history. As well as magnificent wild creatures, the animals have been domesticated for thousands of years. Elephants have been used as war animals, workhorses and for entertainment in circuses and zoos.

Several cultural references emphasise the elephant’s size and exotic uniqueness. For instance, a “white elephant” is a byword for something expensive, useless, and bizarre.

Some Interesting Titbits about Elephants

  • There are three living species of elephant; the African Forest elephant, the African bush elephant and the Asian elephant.
  • African elephants have larger ears than Asian elephants.
  • African elephants have concave backs. Asian elephants backs are convex or level.
  • Elephants can’t jump. They are the only mammal that can’t.
  • At almost 2 years, they have the longest pregnancy of any mammal.
  • Elephants show emotions. They can cry when upset and make a trumpet or squeaking noise when happy.
  • It is believed that they grieve their dead.
  • Elephants have an important role to play in their ecological environment, they are considered to be a Keystone species.
  • They are good swimmers. And have been known to use their trunks as snorkels when crossing rivers.
  • The elephant is the national animal of Thailand.
Vintage elephant illustrations

The Elephant Illustrations And Drawings

The elephant prints in this collection are in the Public Domain. This means that you are free to print and use them as you wish.

To download the elephant illustration that you want, click on the title above it. A higher resolution image will open in a new window on your device. If you right-click on that image, you can choose the option to save it to your device to print.

1. Drawing of An Elephant in A Dutch Zoo

A Lithograph of an elephant in the former zoo of Ghent 1886.

1886_Elephant-drawing-zoo

2. Asiatic elephant

An 1874 lithograph of an Asiatic elephant by L. Prang & Co.

Asiatic Elephant 1874

3. Indian Elephant Drawing 1827

Fritz the elephant in the Real Villa di Stupinigi, illustration by Sofia Giordano.

Fritz Indian Elephant illustation

4. The wonders of the animal kingdom

Elephant illustration from “The wonders of the animal kingdom: exhibiting delineations of the most distinguished wild animals in the various menageries of this country wonders of the animal kingdom” 1830, by Robert Huish.

Print from the wonders of the animal kingdom

5. Trio Of African Elephants

An illustration of a group of three African elephants from the Iconographia Zoologica collection at the University Amsterdam.

trio of African elephants

6. Large African Elephant

This is another wonderful Elephant print from the Iconographia Zoologica collection at the University Amsterdam.

You can find old maps of Africa here.

Large African Elephant

7. Baby Elephant and Mother

You can tell these are Asian elephant illustrations as female Asian Elephants don’t have tusks.

baby elephant and it's mother

8. Cigarette Card Illustration

An illustration of an Elephant, from the Quadrupeds series (N21) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes 1890.

There are some tropical bird cigarette card illustrations here.

cigarette card illustration

9. Map of Singapore, Sumatra, Malaysia, Straits of Malacca

Map of Singapore, Sumatra, Malaysia, Straits of Malacca by Sebastian Münster (1580), with an elephant illustration in the bottom right quadrant. From Raremaps.com

There is a collection of old maps of Asia on Pictureboxblue.

Map of Singapore, Sumatra, Malaysia, Straits of Malacca by Sebastian Münster

10. Performing Elephant 1874

Performing Elephant 1874

11. Dutch Elephant Illustration

A 19th Century Dutch elephant illustration.

Elephant - Dutch Illustration

12. How To Draw Elephants 1

Illustration showing how to draw elephants from “Les Animaux tels qu’ils sont“,  Robert and Léon Lambry 1930.

How to draw elephants

13. How To Draw Elephants part 2

Second illustration showing how to draw elephants from “Les Animaux tels qu’ils sont“,  Robert and Léon Lambry 1930.

How to draw elephants 2

14. Maharao Shatru Sal II (1866–89) Hunting a Tiger

An Indian painting depicting the hunting of a tiger on the back of an elephant. From the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

There is a collection of vintage tiger drawings on Pictureboxblue.

Elephant hunting tiger

15. Utagawa Kuniyoshi Woodblock Print

Woodblock print, oban yoko-e. Dashun hoeing a field with the help of elephants and a flock of sparrows; a lake, village, and mountains in the background, (1843).

Find more Utagawa Kuniyoshi woodblock prints here and other vintage Japanese themed art prints in this collection.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi Elephant woodcut print

16. Indian Elephant Drawing Iconographia_Zoologica

17. Illustration from Zoological lectures by George Shaw

Elephant illustrations by George Shaw (1806), and digitally enhanced by Rawpixel.

Illustration of Elephant from Zoological lectures delivered at the Royal institution in the years 1806-7 illustrated by George Shaw (1751-1813).

18. Natural History Elephant Illustrations

Elephant print from the book “Historiae naturalis de quadrupedibus libri” (The Natural History of Four Footed Animals) 1657.

vintage elephant illustrations

19. Elephant Drawing Polish Text Book

An 1884 elephant drawing from the Polish text book “Historya naturalna państwa zwierzęcego : atlas zoologiczny z tekstem do nauki szkolnéj i domowéj“.

ELEPHANT ILLUSTRATION FROM pOLISH TEXT BOOK

20. Elephant and Skeleton Drawing

From the “Illustrations of zoology. The engravings by F.W. Lowry and Thomas Landseer“,(1851).

Elephant-and-skeleton-illustration

21. Zoological Society of London; an elephant

From the Welcome Collection London.

Zoological Society of London; an elephant

22. Hunting With Elephants

Elephant of India caparisoned for hunting (print: Edinburgh : [W.H. Lizars, etc.], 1836, from the Welcome Collection London.

Hunting with elephants

23. Wenceslas Hollar – Elephant and flowers

17th Century elephant illustration.

Wenceslas_Hollar_-_Elephant_and_flowers

Don’t forget to check out the other collections of animal illustrations on the site, such as

Plus all the many different vintage bird illustrations.

Donna @ Modern on Monticello

Thursday 20th of January 2022

Stunning vintage art! You find such wonderful treasures to share like these. I do enjoy looking at them. #HomeMattersParty

claire

Tuesday 25th of January 2022

Thank you, yes I love prints from old natural history books. The artwork is amazing and so interesting.