Orphan book illustrations

Updated 9 February 2018

There continues to be a steady trade in attractive images removed from books.  These prints go from book binding to picture frame, from bookshelf to wall.

It has been many years since I visited a shop selling these images. But they are widely available on the web.

Unfortunately, the details of the books from which the prints come are seldom available and they are difficult to track down. Here I present 5 such “orphan” images of the California condor that I have seen offered for sale. If you recognize any of them and can tell me about the book from which they have come, make contact. I will post that information for all to see.

The first image is signed “Reimann”. There was a German painter of animals named Friedrich Reimann. The book from which this image came was supposedly published in 1968:

01 Orphan

The next image is fine. It captures the form of the birds and more: the secretary bird strolls in its grassland habitat, the osprey prepares to dine at its usual table and on its usual fare, and the California condor patiently surveys the scene while perched on a cliff. This image was advertised as coming from a book published in 1984:

02 Orphan

Based on the text on the reverse side, this beautiful painting of a condor trio came from a book for children:

03 Orphan

This image from an older, French-language book compares 4 of the 7 species of New World vultures (although not to scale). Based on the names assigned to the 4 species it is almost certainly from the 20th century, even though it appears older:

04 Orphan

This last image is circa 1970 and also from a French-language book:

05 Orphan

Finally, a plea to those who extract images from books: please attach source information so that buyers can know the book from which the art came and know the name of the artist.


The 1st image shown above is from Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia (1975).

The 2nd image above is by Michael Woods and appeared in the Macmillan Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia (1984).