Over 100,000 images ranging from ancient medical manuscripts to etchings by artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Francisco Goya are now available for free download as hi-res images on the Wellcome Images Collection website.
Drawn from the historical holdings of the world-renowned Wellcome Library, the images are being released under the Creative Commons-Attribution only (CC-BY) licence. This means that all the historical images can be downloaded here to freely copy, distribute, edit, manipulate, and build upon as you wish, for personal or commercial use as long as the source Wellcome Library is attributed.
The historical collections offer a rich body of historical images including manuscripts, paintings, etchings, early photography and advertisements. The earliest item is a 3000 year old Egyptian prescription on papyrus, and treasures include exquisite medieval illuminated manuscripts and anatomical drawings, ranging from delicate 16th century fugitive sheets, whose hinged paper flaps reveal hidden viscera, to Paolo Mascagni’s vibrantly coloured etching of an ‘exploded’ torso.
From the beauty of a Persian horoscope for the 15th-century prince Iskandar to sharply sketched satires by Rowlandson, Gillray and Cruikshank, the collection is sacred and profane by turns. Photography includes Eadweard Muybridge’s studies of motion, John Thomson’s remarkable nineteenth century portraits from his travels in China and a newly added series of photographs of hysteric and epileptic patients at the famous Salpêtrière Hospital.
The J. Paul Getty Trust launched its Open Content Program which saw the release of 4,600 high-resolution scans of works from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles as open content. This means that the digital images in this new release can be downloaded and re-used without restriction and without the need to get permission.
Project Gutenberg offers over 42,000 free ebooks in the public domain. Search for images from these texts at the link above.
Many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license, and you can browse or search through content under each type of license.
Specific to Health Sciences is the database of images from Patrick Lynch from Yale University which are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license.
If you are looking for images specific to Health Sciences the Gray’s Anatomy database of images in Wikimedia is a fantastic place to start. All of these images are now available in the public domain.