#ColorOurCollections, Day 4


It’s the fourth day of #ColorOurCollections, a week-long special collections coloring fest we’ve organized on social media. We are astonished by the week’s popularity: more than 160 organizations are participating (See our growing list).

Every day on our blog, we will feature #ColorOurCollections coloring sheets from our library, along with content from participants worldwide. You can also download our full #ColorOurCollections coloring book.

Today’s coloring sheets come from Dutch anatomist Govard Bidloo and English horticulturist Elizabeth Blackwell.

The atlas of Bidloo (1649-1713), published in 1685, attempted to show the body in a quite different way from his predecessor, Andreas Vesalius. The skeleton in this image is depicted climbing out of his open grave, hourglass in hand and silky shroud tossed recklessly aside. Bidloo’s talented artist Gerard de Lairesse studied with Rembrandt but embraced a more neoclassical tone than his teacher.

Skeleton in Bidloo's Anatomia hvmani corporis..., 1685.

Skeleton in Bidloo’s Anatomia hvmani corporis…, 1685. Click to download a PDF of the coloring page.

Elizabeth Blackwell was a triple-threat: the author, artist and engraver published her Curious Herbal in 1739, which quickly became an invaluable resource for apothecaries and doctors well beyond the 18th century. Blackwell undertook the publication of the book to raise funds to release her husband from debtor’s prison. During visits at Highgate Prison where he was installed, he supplied the names of the book’s plants in Greek and Latin. Many copies of the book were hand-colored by Blackwell herself. This one is begging to be hand-colored by you!

Orange tree in Blackwell's A Curious Herbal, 1739.

Orange tree in Blackwell’s A Curious Herbal, 1739. Click to download a PDF of the coloring page.

Today, we’d like to feature the work of the colorers! There are a tremendous number of colored images to choose from—take a look at our Pinterest board for more. (We also have a board of images from participating institutions just waiting to be colored.)

If Twitter and Instagram are any indication, some of the most popular pages to color come from the Smithsonian Libraries coloring book, tied to its new exhibit “Color in a New Light.”

We’ve seen a number of takes on J. Romilly Allen’s Celtic art in pagan and Christian times (page 169):


A photo posted by Benicia Library (@benicialibrary) on

And we love this painted frontispiece from Plastik; Sinfonie des Lebens by Oswald Herzog (1921).

Pintando en acuarela // painting in watercolor today #colorourcollections #watercolor

A photo posted by Gigliola Miori Della Rosa (@missdellarosa) on

The Chemical Heritage Foundation’s vintage ad for DDT was too enticing for Twitter user Miss N. Thrope to pass up:

Nicole Kearney turned Biodiversity Heritage Library Australia’s image of a bearded dragon into a work of art:

The National Library of Medicine went astronomical for its first #ColorOurCollections contribution. Twitter user Michelle Ebere was up to the challenge:

Instagram user @artofstriving took her inspiration from an image from Walter de la Mare’s Down-adown-derry: A Book of Fairy Poems with illustrations by Dorothy P. Lathrop (1922), shared in the University of Missouri Libraries’ coloring book.

Keep the coloring coming! And stay tuned: tomorrow, our final #ColorOurCollections post will include a list of all of the coloring books created and shared this week.