Mary Evans collection of the week: Pictures Now

Inspired Woman looks to the Sky     Date: 1944

Picture a collection packed with a magnificent mix of fine art, illustration and photography, covering countless historic events and personalities.

Imagine vibrant, vintage illustration and a spectrum of graphic styles, atmospheric Old Masters, 18th century cartoons, artefacts from ancient worlds, retro magazine illustration and nostalgic advertisements. Throw in eye-catching ephemera and more artists than you can shake a stick at and you’ve got the makings of a great picture library in its own right. All this has arrived here at Mary Evans, and is ready to licence now. Welcome to the Pictures Now Collection (see what we did there?).

The generic name doesn’t quite encapsulate the exciting breadth of this collection but we’re thrilled to have added 35,000 new images from Pictures Now to our website. The collection hails from the US, and so naturally offers a rich seam of American history from American Civil War material to excellent paintings and photographs of Native and African American people. There are also hundreds of vintage magazine illustrations recalling mid-century America with soda-pop clarity. But this is a global collection, and so casts its net far wider. There are thousands of fine art images for starters, with the work of hundreds of artists ranging from Caravaggio to Van Gogh comprehensively covered. Illustration is a real strength – look out for wonderful sketches by Charles Dana Gibson and the enchanting work of Jessie Willcox Smith, to name just two. In between, the collection is so eclectic, it’s impossible to categorise but suffice to say, whether you’re looking for Leon Bakst costume designs, jousting knights, Regency dandies, a portrait of Queen Henrietta Maria, or varieties of onions, Pictures Now can oblige.

We’ve trawled this vast collection to pull together a curated selection, which, while not exhaustive, gives a good overview.

If you are more interested in specifically decorative images, perhaps for cards, wall art or merchandise, we have put together two smaller selections – one that looks at general or ‘occasion’ designs and another focused solely on Christmas.

Mary Evans Picture Library newsletter – 27 February, 2020.
Picture credit: woman looks to the sky, date: 1944 ©The Pictures Now Image Collection / Mary Evans Picture Library