The Library- Source of art for your walls

August 27, 2012

I pinned this image some weeks ago because I was very attracted to the prints (of course the wall color and the plaid chairs don't hurt either).  Trying to figure out where I could find some similar images I came across New York Public Library's (NYPL) image gallery.  Score!  It has got to be one of the world's best kept secrets.  Or did you know about it? They have a wonderful collection of over 800,000 open access images from their vast collection of books (see collection here).  They have categories from the ABCs of Cigarette Cards (here) to amazing maps (here) to early landscape photography (here), and this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

You can order prints from them in different sizes. They are not necessarily free but their prices are pretty good ($45 for an 8x10 and $215 for 20x30)-  so, pretty much market prices (similar to prices from except not as marketed which translates to more unique art for you.  Back to my desire to a similar look as above.... I found these two colorful men on a mission.  Aren't they perfect? I could print them in the large 20x30 format to get a similar vibe.  What a great duo.  I can also see them in boys rooms- How intellectual to have some Shakespearean art.
To give you a sense of the possibilities with these archives let's start with the classic, always beautiful, never boring botanicals.  Here is some inspiration:
(Cute long pillow with ruffles!)  And take a look at the wonderful wall to wall collection in the photo below. These walls sure make a statement.
Here are some examples of botanicals from the NYPL...leafy greens....
or colorful flowers
What about this star chart that has been making its rounds in the blogosphere as of late? 
Voila! Here is the version at the NYPL (you can also get the digital version of these if you want to print yourself)
or you can get the individual constellations if you prefer. Here is Jessica's lovely living room for inspiration:
and here are some images that could work from NYPL.....
You can also make some interesting display, framing, and matting decisions to showcase your print collection.  Here we have different matting choices that work beautifully and where the print can actually be a smaller size yet still have the BIG impact because of the display, matting and framing.
And from  the photo inspiration below you can see the prints don't need to be big at all.  In fact you could print this size at home directly from the website since it is so small (which means free!) And all money saved on printing can go into framing with large frames and wide mats.  
Yes! small art, big impact.
Here are some other fun print collections the NYPL has......a ton of these.....
I would love a collection of snakes on a wall.
or a collection of cuttle fish......
You can get very creative when you visit this place.

Is a print collection in your future?  I don't know if you can call two a collection but those Shakespearean folk are calling my name.

You Might Also Like


  1. Wonderful! I knew about this but never acted on it. What a great resource. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. What a great resource lady. Thanks for sharing. Especially loving the Shakespeare prints and the small art, big frame ideas. Good stuff. Happy Monday btw.

  3. Wow!! Looks like I'll be bookmarking that site!!

  4. Awesome post! That first photo is SO fantastic and I am
    absolutely obsessed with the constellation idea. When I move into a bigger apartment I would love to get that huge star chart for above my bar table. Even if it becomes the next "Keep Calm and Carry On" I don't think I'll tire of it because it's just SO cool. Happy Monday!

  5. Great inspiratioN! I love the different colors matte boards in the dining room.:)

  6. I've always loved botanical prints... They blend perfectly with any environment!

  7. What an amazing resource! Thanks so much for sharing! I'm in desperate need of two pieces of artwork to hang above a pair of bookshelves. I will definitely spend some time browsing their archives.

  8. Well you have made my day!! What a fabulous resource that I would have NEVER thought to do some "research"!!

  9. I never knew, but what fun to investigate! Thanks for sharing : )

  10. these are a-w-e-s-o-m-e... thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Yes, thanks so much for the inspiration! Looks amazing! Thanks again for sharing!

    Love, Jamie Herzlinger

  12. Ummm, yes, absolutely heading that way right this second! What a great idea!


You make my day with your comments! Thank you!!