Online Archive of Documentary Watercolours

A painting of a dodo bird, c. 1638, by Pieter Holsteyn, the Younger


1. "There's a Free Online Archive of Pre-1900 Watercolors from Around the World" (post) that introduces  "new digital archive of watercolor images from the 1400s through the 1800s" -- "a priceless record of the world before photography."

  • "[A] way for scientists, architects, and explorers to document the world around them," these watercolours are "depictions of people, animals, architecture, and landscapes from around the world ... meant to capture moments at a time when portable cameras hadn’t been invented yet."
  • They include cultural and social images as well as "plenty of flora and fauna, drawn up by artists and scientists alike."
  • "Many of them would be of great interest to historians, scientists, and members of the general public, but are hidden from view and at risk of disappearing."

2. "The Watercolour World website culls these historic artifacts from both private and public collections, then uploads them for all to see."

  • "The website boasts more than 80,000 images of 'documentary watercolors' made before the year 1900."
  • "Users can browse the selection or narrow their search field by collection, category, country, artist, or date range."
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