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British Library’s Image Collection – check out this jumbo image resource

There’s a lot of art out in the world and much of it is hidden in closed collections just because there isn’t enough room to display it all. The British Library wants to share its archives with the world and has uploaded a ton of art that you can view (and use) for free.

The collection includes portraits, adverts, maps and all manner of other illustrations, paintings, and drawings that the curious can browse through and explore times gone past. Because this is a library it also has book covers and children’s book illustrations which is something that many other online archives lack.

The images were put online by the Mechanical Curator, a bot that just posts them, while they were organized by human volunteers. There are literally thousands of images to browse through and enjoy. They’re all copyright free so feel free to do whatever with them. Use them in new work, as inspiration or in their full glory. Check out the website to waste some time.


  • > you can view (and use) for free.

    I’ve looked and looked but do not see any license information. When I managed the about page, all I got was a 404. Just want to point out that there are different levels of “free”. Free for personal use, free including commercial use, free with reselling rights, etc… If you or other can point out/link to license/usage rights, it would help immensely.

    • Hi Kurt, It’s actually a Flickr collection of public domain images. Click on an individual image and you’ll see the licensing on the right hand side. Very nice resource indeed. Kind of like the Internet Archives, but for BL images.

    • Just about to come say this but you got it.

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