Natural Curiosities Gallery Wall / Ernst Haeckel

At the holiday my dear Diane gave me Natural Curiosities, a 12 poster 2015 calendar of prints by Ernst Haeckel. She knows I love those Victorian era biological illustrations. They’re so passionate and meticulous at the same time. This set was particularly nice, published on card stock by the Library of Congress. Beautiful jellyfish, octopi and more.


My intentions started out with self discipline. I would patiently wait each month for the new illustration. At the end of this year, I’d do something beautiful with the illustrations. Didn’t make it. These babies were just too tempting and I was feeling project twitch mightily. I told myself it made sense to do something with them now, to avoid them getting dinged, as things always seem to, by the Mints. Respect, Diane. That’s what I was feeling for you!

From last year’s holiday project of jewelry organizers, I had a bunch of picture frame backs. Varying sizes. Perfect!

For my gallery wall, I had six matching ones so I positioned six of the prints on each backer board. A box knife made a nice clean cut against the backer board. Next it was simply a matter of spray adhesive and I had wall art ready to go.

I was able to keep the titles of these six favorites, discarding the calendar part. That was ideal because the Latin / German titles are almost as interesting as the prints. My guest room gallery wall:

Guest room gallery wall with Ernst Haeckel prints, lit by crazy thrift crystal chandelier.
Guest room gallery wall with Ernst Haeckel prints, lit by crazy thrift crystal chandelier.

Another reason I love this wall is I stenciled it, Country Cotton white over the a creamy / tan color from some found-in-the-basement paint (No Spend Spring hard at work). It’s a imprecise stencil over fairly rough walls. I wanted a subtle, pretty look.

Now I love it even more. There’s something so delicious about the delicacy of the Haeckel prints against the traditional damask shape from the stencil. Maybe it’s that thing about the echoing of nature in all art shapes.

Close up of wall stencil juxtaposed against Haeckel prints.
Close up of wall stencil juxtaposed against Haeckel prints.

I also mounted the rest of the prints on smaller backer boards. These are strewn  about the house more informally, kind of a nice little surprise around every corner. I can’t stop looking at them. So glad I get to enjoy them far beyond a simple month’s display!

What do you think? Have you turned a calendar into more permanent art? Success or failure?

2 thoughts on “Natural Curiosities Gallery Wall / Ernst Haeckel”

  1. I think this one is a complete… SUCCESS! So cool. Did I miss the post about the steps to do the stencil on the wall? I love that too. Thanks for the ideas.

  2. this is great! i have a beth van hosen calendar i can’t part with, now i know what to do 😉

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