Some of the most beautiful colour pictures you'll ever see were taken by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky, who developed colour photography.
They were mostly taken in Russia over 100 years ago, though to look at them, you might think it was yesterday - apart from the clothes of course. If you look at the some of the pictures of peasants, it's almost as if Tolstoy had a camera.
There are also nice pictures of Italy and other European countries.
I tried to find a book of his pictures, but they all seem to be out of print.
There's a collection of some of the best on Flickr too (below):