The Folger Shakespeare Library


Illustration of three flowers, the middle one hand-colored yellow, from Folger STC 19300 Copy 1.

The Project

British Book Illustrations (BBI) is a project of the Folger Shakespeare Library, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), to digitize and index 10,000 woodcut and engraved illustrations in British and English-language books. Using the extensive Folger holdings in the Short-Title Catalogue (STC) period, BBI began by systematically digitizing and indexing ca. 6,700 illustrations for the years 1604 – 1640, thereby extending previous systematic print reference guides that cover illustrations only through the end of the Tudor era in 1603. The explosion of illustration from the mid-17th century onward made comprehensive digitizing and indexing beyond the STC period impractical within the time-frame of this project. Instead, BBI focused on books renowned for their illustrations, digitizing and indexing an estimated 3,300 illustrations contained in the Folger collection of British imprints, 1641 – 1700.



Iconclass Notations

How to Cite

We ask that digital images from the Folger’s collection be identified in the following manner:

    Call number, signature/folio/page/etc. Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

However, if you are able, we prefer the expanded citation provided below as a caption since it provides more information and makes tracing the image back to its original source much easier for future scholars:

    Author. Title (Place of publication, publication date), signature/folio/page (if applicable). Folger Shakespeare Library call number. Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

    Example: Munday, Anthony (1553-1633). Londons loue, to the Royal Prince Henrie, meeting him on the riuer of Thames, at his returne from Richmonde, with a worthie fleete of her cittizens, on Thursday the last of May, 1610. (London : Printed by Edw. Allde, for Nathaniell Fosbrooke, and are to be solde at the west-end of Paules, neere to the Bishop of Londons gate, 1610.), leaf A1 verso. Folger Shakespeare Library STC 13159. Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Please see our website for more information on our permissions policies.

Color our Collections

#ColorOurCollections is a week-long social media event during which libraries, museums, and archives from around the world share images from their collections and encourage you to color them in and make them your own. We’ve pulled all kinds of images from our collection here at the Folger, including some from BBI.

Want to color them all? Click below to view and download all of the Folger’s coloring pages. Don’t forget to share your work with us on social media!

Coloring page from an engraving of a walled garden, with ship and rainbow in the background, from Folger STC 12958.

Engraving of a walled garden from Henry Hawkins’s Partheneia sacra, 1633. Folger STC 12958.

Coloring page from an engraving of mechanical dragon and St. George fighting, with fireworks, from Folger STC 1099 copy 1.

Engraving of mechanical St. George and dragon, with fireworks, from John Babington’s Pyrotechnia, 1635. Folger STC 1099 copy 1.

Coloring page from an engraving of three owls perched on branches, one with a bird in its talons, from Folger 141- 008f.

Engraving of three owls from Francis Willughby’s Ornithologiae libri tres, 1676. Folger 141- 008f.

Coloring page from an etching of a variety of animals, mostly reptiles, amongst some trees, from Folger 139- 027f.

Etching of animals, mostly reptiles, from Antoine Le Grand’s An entire body of philosophy, according to the principles of the famous Renate Des Cartes, 1694. Folger 139- 027f.

BBI images used on this page:

Floral illustration in site header from folio 16 of Folger STC 19459.
Illustration of flowers, hand-colored in yellow, from page 259 of Folger STC 19300 Copy 1.

British Book Illustrations