Von Wright’s Scandinavian Birds.

All of the stunning paintings in Svenska Fåglar (Swedish Birds) by the von Wright brothers (1929 folio version) are in the public domain, and free to download and use in any way you wish. This is exquisite artwork, so even if you don’t want to use it, have a wander anyway, your day will be better for it. Also in the public domain are Birds of Australia, Ornithological volume by John Gould (1804-1881), illustrated by Elizabeth Gould (1804–1841), which introduced more than 300 new birds to the world.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    There was recently a von Wright exhibition in Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki.

    The brothers Magnus, Wilhelm and Ferdinand grew up in early 19th century in the Haminalahti manor (they were noblemen) near the city of Kuopio in Savonia, Eastern Finland. The family came originally from Scotland, moved to Narva in Estonia on mid-1600s and was knighted in Sweden 1776.

    The eldest, Magnus first moved to Sweden to study art. When he got the job to illustrate the bird book, he invited his little brother Wilhelm and later also Ferdinand to help out.

  2. Ice Swimmer says

    Magnus von Wright (b. 1805) is considered as a pioneering ornithologist in Finland, he came back from Sweden in 1838, after having finished the book (started in 1828) with the help of his brothers, who were 5 and 12 years younger than he was.

    They were all avid hunters. Like their contemporary Audubon who did his book at the same time (1827 -- 39), they used shot birds (both ones they had shot and ones they had bought) as models.

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