Vintage butterfly images: Butterflies are a type of insect from the order Lepidoptera. Hence, butterfly collectors are called lepidopterists. Butterflies are found in countries all over the world except for the coldest ones. However, they are more abundant in the tropics and South America.
I think everyone studies butterflies at some stage in their primary education. The four-stage life cycle of the butterfly is a popular introduction to biology. I remember from my childhood the wonder of witnessing a beautiful adult butterfly emerging from is Chrysalis.
It’s the beauty of the butterfly that makes it probably the most popular insect. For centuries, butterflies have been used for art and jewelry. They have been, decoupaged, framed, or set in resin blocks.
They are a major component of Art Nouveau animal designs, you should check out the amazing pochoir antique butterflies of Seguy.
Natural History Butterfly Images To Download
Most of the butterfly illustrations in this post, have been drawn from Victorian butterfly collections.
Butterfly collecting surprisingly is still legal (except for certain species). But it is not the popular hobby it once was. I think that is for several reasons. We are a lot more ecologically conscious these days. It’s no longer ethical or environmentally friendly to collect butterflies. Also, there are far fewer butterflies now than in the past.
Did you know that the English prime ministers Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill were once butterfly collectors? At its height of popularity in the early 20th century, there was a whole industry around the pastime of butterfly collecting. From all the specialist journals and books, the equipment, the beautiful mahogany display cabinets, and even butterfly farms.
Now the only butterfly collectors are those field biologists collecting and identifying spices in the name of science. Peter Marren wrote an interesting article about the demise of the hobby of butterfly collecting.
The modern acceptable way to collect butterflies is to photograph them. The Norwegian nature photographer Kjell Sandved devoted much of his career photographing the patterns and
Here I’ve curated a collection of beautiful
To download the vintage butterfly images just click on the highlighted title link and a higher resolution jpg will automatically download to your device.
There is a really cute tutorial on how to use these illustrations to create a unique butterfly Christmas ornament.
The Vintage Butterfly Illustrations
This beautiful plate of moth and butterfly images is from the German publication “Abhandlungen der Senckenbergischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft” 1854. From Harvard University Library.
A lovely collection of 5 butterflies from Charles Waterhouse’s ” Aid To The Identification Of Insects”. This is a beautiful book from the 1880’s full of fabulous insect illustrations from the Smithsonian Library.
Not only are the butterflies on this plate beautiful, but there are some lovely lifecycle drawings around the edge. This is from the “Dictionnaire Universel d’Histoire
The second plate of butterfly images from Charles Orbigny’s book. Again with line drawings of each butterflies caterpillar state.
The beautiful blue butterfly on this plate the Nymphalidae Morpho Adonis is named after mythological Adonis, the Greek god of beauty and desire.
I love the painting of the Large Emerald butterfly at the bottom of the plate.
7. Butterfly Images From the “Edinburgh journal of natural history and of the physical sciences” 1835
This is a gorgeous collection of vintage butterfly images. I love the impressive Imperial Trojan butterfly in the middle of the plate.
These lovely vintage butterfly images are from The Annals and magazine of natural history; zoology, botany, and geology (1916).
32 beautiful vintage butterfly images in this first of 2 natural history posters. They were painted by Adolphe Millot for the “Nouveau Larousse illustré”. I’ve previously shared a collection of Millot’s Sea Life posters.
30 beautiful vintage butterfly images in this second of 2 natural history posters. They were painted by Adolphe Millot for the “Nouveau Larousse illustré”.
Butterflies are insects and there are more beautiful butterfly paintings free to download with the antique insect art of Joris Hoefnagel.
If you are a big fan of butterflies and moths then you might want to check out this fun faux moth taxidermy craft.
If you liked these vintage butterfly images you may want to check out some of these other natural history illustrations such as the collection of dragonfly drawings.