Antique Free Insect Illustrations
An interest in the natural world is something I grew up with. My father is an ornithologist and my uncle an entomologist. An ornithologist is someone who studies birds. An entomologist studies insects. For this post, I have curated a wonderful collection of free insect prints from vintage natural history collection.
My uncle spent his working life as an entomologist based at the Natural History Museum in London. He will be familiar with many of these free insect prints.
My father and uncle grew up in London. My grandmother used to send them off in the summer holidays with a tube ticket and a packed lunch to spend the day at the Natural History Museum. The museum was and still is free to enter. This was in the days before summer camps and holiday clubs.
I’ve curated a wonderful collection of vintage scientific insect illustrations. As I find more prints I will be adding them to the collection so this list of prints will slowly grow.
The insect pictures would look fabulous in a gallery wall. Using decoupage and wood slices, personally, I plan to create a fun way to display the insect prints.
I have just chosen high resolution illustrations of single insects for this collection. Rather than identification sheets of large collections of insects that you often find in antique entomology books.
To download the free insect print just click on the title above the image you want. The downloaded prints will be of a higher resolution.
At the end of the post, you will find downloadable .png files for each free insect print. These will be handy for clipart, crafting, scrapbooking and decoupage.
The Free Insect Prints
The caption on this wonderful free insect print may say, Scarabaeus Hercules, however, that particular beetle is now known as Dynastes Hercules. The Dynastes Hercules beetle is a species of rhinoceros beetle native to the rainforests of Central America and South America. It is one of the largest flying insects in the world.
If you were wondering, yes the Dynastes Hercules beetle is named after the Roman hero and god Hercules because of its strength. It is believed that this beetle can carry up to 100 times its size.
A fabulous illustration painted by James Duncan a Scottish Naturalist in 1833. The plate is from the Entomology section of “The Naturalist’s Library”.
This lovely beetle illustration is from the seminal work “Dictionnaire Universel d’Histoire Naturelle“, 1849. I’ve also curated some vintage animal prints from this book which you can find here.
Another fabulous copyright free insect print from “Dictionnaire Universel d’Histoire Naturelle“, 1849. This time an illustration of the Giant Long Horn Beetle.
A cicada, native to Fiji. This lovely copyright free insect print is from the book “Aid To The Identification Of Insects” by Charles Owen Waterhouse published 1880-1890.
Another copyright free insect print from “Aid To The Identification Of Insects” by Charles Owen Waterhouse.
There is not much information about this black and red-winged insect except that was found at Lake Nyassa. The lake is an African Great Lake and the southernmost lake in the East African Rift system, located between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.
Praying Mantis gets their name form they way it grips prey with its large forelegs in an upright posture while remaining stationary with forearms folded. They are also one of the most common insects to have as pets.
A colourful vintage insect illustration is from “An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of India” by E. Donovan published in 1800.
It was originally falsely believed that these insects were luminescent, hence the name. The Yellow fake eyes on the hind wings are designed to scare away preditors, the insect also releases a foul smelling substance when under attack.
This copyright free insect print is from “Le Règne Animal Distribué d’après Son Organisation” (The animal kingdom distributed according to its organization) published between 1836-1849.
An illustration of beautiful scarab from India. The print is from “The Cabinet of Oriental Entomology“. Published in 1848 by J. Westwood.
I don’t know what beetle this is, but I just loved the illustration. It is from the book “Entomologie, oder, Naturgeschichte der Insecten” (Entomology, or, the natural history of insects). Written by Illiger, Johann Karl Wilhelm; Olivier, G. A.; Sturm, Jakob and published in 1802.
Clipart .png Versions Of The Insect Prints
I have removed the background of the free insect prints above and converted them to .png files. These pictures can then be used for clipart, scrapbooking, decoupage and other crafts.
Just click on the link below that corresponds with the numbered insect in the picture below to download the .png file.
- Cicada Kuruduadua
- Scarabaeus Hercules
- Black and Red-Winged Insect
- Goliathus cacicus
- Giant Long Horn Beetle
- Praying Mantis
- Long-Armed Scarab
One of the first books to be published on insects was the Animalia rationalia et insecta (ignis) by Joris Hoefngael and is full of the most amazing detailed antique insect illustrations.
You should check out these other collections of free natural history illustrations.
For more free printables visit allfreepapercrafts.com