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220 Year Old Block Prints

It’s been a while since I’ve written about a “picture of the week”. I’ve been working on so many things lately that I wonder how my head hasn’t simply exploded yet.

This morning, I’ve been working on adding some great new block print images to Reusable Art.

If I have the right artist, the John Bewick credited with being the illustrator worked with his brother or uncle Thomas. Thomas Bewick was the more well-known of the two and was an English engraver who also wrote natural history books. If the John Bewick in question was Thomas’s brother, he died the year the book these great prints come from was published. If the John Bewick responsible for these engravings is the nephew, there’s no additional information I could find.

It is amazing when you think about it. This book has survived from 1795. The United States was only 19 years old and book illustrations were still being carved from wood blocks before being used to stamp the image onto the page.

Much of the time, when I find block prints this old, the quality of the image is pretty poor. While I admire the work that went into making them, I doubt their usefulness to anyone visiting Reusable Art. Today’s new additions are among the finest I’ve seen and I’m so excited to be sharing them with you.

Even better news is the scans were done so well that the images retain much of their detail when made larger.

The first one of the group is one of a rose bush in a back yard. You can find a larger version of the image here – Block Print Rose Bush.

The second image, also shown here in slightly smaller size, is a quiver full of arrows with a bow. I think it would make a great image for Valentine’s day.

There’s also a small landscape drawing with this charming heron. You can see the complete block print here – Heron Print.

I’m not sure which of these last two is my favorite. I love tree drawings but I also think there’s something so utterly beautiful about seeing a deer in the wild. With these remaining two block prints, trees feature heavily but one also includes a stag and his doe. Again, both images are shown here in reduced size and are available in a larger size on Reusable Art.

deer drawingI think this vintage block print looks great. But, even just the pair of deer are quite lovely without the trees they are sheltered under. The full picture can be found here – Deer Block Print.

tree drawingThere’s just so much character in this wonderfully gnarled old tree. It’s been battered and bruised yet still flourishes. What a great metaphor, don’t you think. A larger version is available – Vintage Tree Print.

As always, please do let me know if you’ve found any of these vintage block print images useful. I’d also love to see what creative way you’ve used them.

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