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
Eccentric visionary talks birds, shamanism, intoxicated animals and the Brighton Festival
More than the sum of its parts: an exploration of how the human form was perfected
A masterly portrait of the Iron Duke that draws out a contradictory personality
The portraitist's experiments in paint buckle under the weight of too much information
A romantic 'hero-artist' or just a designer with a melancholic imagination?
One of the greats of postwar American painting in a breathtaking survey
An equine skeleton with connections to the City takes up residence in Trafalgar Square
A fresh take: the commercial story behind the success of an avant-garde movement
Online messages sent from elsewhere by an artist who loves the sea
Enigmatic works on paper, reunited for the first time since the Spanish artist's death
Technical innovation often coupled with meaningless extravagance
Picasso's women and the role they played in his work