Gallery: Collecting the Olympic Games, British Library | Visual arts reviews, news & interviews
Gallery: Collecting the Olympic Games, British Library
Another time, another time: images of the London Olympiad of 1908
As London 2012 finally settles into the blocks for its two-week dash after seven years of preparation, the British Library has cast a nostalgic look back to the two previous Olympiads hosted by the city, in 1908 and 1948. The story the images tell is of the changing face of the Olympics. Once upon a time amateurism unquestioningly held sway and intensely focused athletes didn't sneer at Baron de Coubertin's long-lost concept that it's the taking part that counts and the notion of sponsorship was still a twinkle in Lausanne's eye.
The collection, featuring 2,500 stamps, postal items and other pieces of Olympic memorabilia from private collections, also tracks the history of London's progress across the century. In 1908 the city was still at its imperial zenith. In 1948 it was a bankrupt, clapped-out soon-to-be has-been. Where we are now will be determined by the next fortnight. This gallery concentrates on the images from the 1908 Olympiad. Compare and contrast with the coming attractions.
- Olympex 2012: Collecting the Olympic Games is at the British Library until 9 September
Click on the images to enlarge
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more Visual arts
Panorama of Pop art from Alastair Sooke ahead of the Tate Modern show
The distinguished writer and illustrator talks compensatory learning and the lure of Atlantic liners
The sculptor talks about his fascination with Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace and about the big ideas that inform his work
From a biography of Rimbaud to Annie Proulx's collage-like prose, we delve into the celebrated illustrator's literary tastes and habits
A forgotten photographer of the northern slums is rediscovered
The artist who wraps the world in gleaming copper wire – but to what end?
A dynamic art scene in Norway's capital is giving London and Berlin a run for their money
Powerful paintings that explore the Jewish émigré experience
The beguiling tone poems of an American artist
theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top exhibitions
Pioneer photographer who had an empathetic understanding of the Indian subcontinent
Just what is it that makes the kitsch-meister American artist so different, so appealing?