Antique Botanical Mushroom Prints by Mary Banning (1878) via Vintage Printable (free out-of-copyright downloads)

If you haven't already heard about this great little site, allow me to introduce you to Vintage Printable! Started as a hobby by someone who enjoys collecting out-of-copyright scientific illustrations, the site offers a variety of free, public domain/out-of-copyright images for you to print and download to your hearts content! And let me tell you, there is a lot of content to be content with! Hehehehe....

Anyway, the site says that most of the images in its digital library are vintage naturalist or scientific illustration, but there are some other types as well. In other words, it's a treasure trove folks! If you're in love with vintage prints like me, you'll fall into a rabbit hole shortly after visiting Vintage Printable. Ever since I discovered this site I knew I had to put together a series of posts featuring various themed images/prints to share with you, there are so many amazing possibilities! So, if you're not in the mood to wade through endless prints looking for the good ones, allow me to do that for you. This is the first of my vintage print posts, there are many more to come... For your convenience, I have provided the direct link to each image, along with its description - including the mushroom name, artwork title, and artist.

Without further ado, check out these artistic and detailed watercolor mushroom prints by Mary Banning... I can definitely picture them in a group of small frames, although I wish the text descriptions were more legible, but they are certainly beautiful nonetheless. I hope you love them as much as I do!


“The Fungi of Maryland”
by Mary Banning
Stated date of creation 1878
via Smithsonian

Here is a brief bio excerpt on the artist sourced from Wikipedia:

"Mary Elizabeth Banning (1832-1903) was an American mycologist and botanical illustrator from Maryland. She formally described 23 previously unknown species of fungi, publishing their type descriptions in the Botanical Gazette and Charles Peck's "Annual Report of the New York State Botanist".  She is best known as the author of The Fungi of Maryland, an unpublished manuscript containing scientific descriptions, mycological anecdotes, and 174 13" by 15" watercolor paintings of fungal species.  The New York State Museum describes these paintings as "extraordinary...a blend of science and folk art, scientifically accurate and lovely to look at." Banning's manuscript took twenty years to complete (1868-1888). Although the Maryland State Archives, citing Stegman, asserts that "At this point in time, no one had written a book on American fungi," and Haines states, "In 1868 there were no books from which to learn about American fungi," neither assertion is technically correct: Schweinitz's Synopsis Fungorum Carolinæ Superioris was published in 1822. Nevertheless, had Banning's opus been published, it would certainly have been the first illustrated and popularly accessible fungal flora of the southern United States. She was inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame in 1994."

(link to original image not found)

(link to original image not found)

(All images in this post were sourced from the free vintage print website, Vintage Printable.)