Beautiful Vintage Sunflower Illustrations
It’s not surprising that sunflowers symbolize happiness. I just look at a sunflower and it makes me smile. Here I’ve curated a collection of copyright-free vintage sunflower drawings.
Sunflowers are grown all over the world but they are a native to America. I think every child in Briton must have grown a sunflower at sometime in primary school.
The flowers are easy to grow and are get so impressively tall (American Sunflowers up to 4 meters). That makes them a popular plant to introduce children to the natural sciences. All three of my children have come home from primary school with a sunflower seed in a pot. Which they carefully watered and tendered, measuring the height of the flower every week and making sunflower drawings. All in the name of science.
There are over 70 different species of sunflower. The French call sunflowers “tournesol,” which means “turns with the sun.” Sunflowers exhibit a phenomenon known as heliotropism. That is the flowering heads of the plant track the sun’s movement and turn to face the sun.
Sunflower drawings and paintings have been a popular subject of many of the worlds greatest artists, such as Gauguin and Monet. The most famous of which is Vincent Van Gogh’s series of sunflower paintings. He did them in Arles, in the south of France, between 1888 and 1889. Vincent painted large canvases with sunflowers in a vase, with three shades of yellow ‘and nothing else’.
The last time one of Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings ( Vase of Fifteen Sunflowers) sold at an auction in 1987 it sold for over $39 million at Christie’s in London. At the time this was the most expensive painting ever sold.
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The Sunflower Drawings
A gorgeous sunflower by the Dutch artist Johannes Teyler . He was a Dutch Golden Age painter, an engraver, mathematics teacher, and inventor of the colour print. This sunflower was painted in the late 17th century sometime between 1698-1699.
The original painting of this sunflower is in the world-famous Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
Another one of Johannes Teyler’s beautiful sunflower drawings at the
A sunflower illustration from the 17th Century by Hans-Simon Holtzbecker. Holtzbecker was known for his flower paintings, he created on behalf of Duke Friedrich III for the seminal Gottorfer Codex. A four-volume plant atlas.
The Hortus Eystettensis is a codex produced by Basilius Besler in 1613 of the garden of the bishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria. There are two versions of this large sunflower drawing. This colourful one and another one below in black and white.
The same sunflower illustration as the one above, but this time a black and white version.
A botanical illustration of the sunflower from the book “American medicinal plants; an illustrated and descriptive guide to the American plants used as homeopathic remedies: their history, preparation, chemistry and physiological effects. By Charles F. Millspaugh” (1887)
If you are wondering about the medicinal properties of sunflowers, “a tea made from the leaves is astringent, diuretic and expectorant, it is used in the treatment of high fevers. The crushed leaves are used as a poultice on sores, swellings, snakebites and spider bites. A tea made from the flowers is used in the treatment of malaria and lung ailments. The seed is also considered to be diuretic and expectorant. “
A detailed natural history illustration of a dissected sunflower. These sunflower drawings are from a book showing the sexual system of plants, “
Illustration Systematis Sexualis Linnaei” John Miller 1789.
Painted by Alexander Marshal an English entomologist, gardener and botanical artist. Alexander painted flowers and plants for the pleasure it gave to him and his horticulturist friends.
I assume the dog is in this sunflower drawing to get a perspective of scale.
A silver-leaved sunflower drawing from “Favourite flowers of garden and greenhouse” by Edward Step.
The purple disc sunflower is native to North America. One plant can produce 1-15 flower heads, each with 10-15 yellow ray florets surrounding 75 or more red or purple disc florets.
This sunflower illustration is from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine 1826.
A species of sunflower native to California and Baja California. This sunflower illustration is from the French book “Flore des serres et des jardins de l’Europe” 1845, (Flora of greenhouses and gardens of Europe).
This is a cultivated ornamental sunflower. The painting is from William Curtis’s, The Botanical Magazine 1794.
Another impressively large flower is the giant water lily, see it here.
If you enjoyed this collection of sunflower drawings don’t forget to check out these other flora collections.