Kicking Off: Bridgeman's Sporting Collections

From C18th engravings of bare-knuckle boxing to C20th memorabilia of the ‘beautiful game,’ Bridgeman is a rich resource for Britain’s sporting heritage

 

The United Kingdom invented a range of major international sports including football, rugby, cricket, golf, tennis, squash, boxing, snooker and curling. It has also played a key role in the development of sports such as sailing and Formula One.  Highlighted below are some of Bridgeman’s collections specializing in British sporting art and memorabilia. 

Browse our sport category search for a more comprehensive overview of sport in art, going back to a pre-Olympian era.

 

 

Front cover of 'Men of Mettle', published by John F. Shaw & Co. (English School, (20th century) National Football Museum, UK
Front cover of 'Men of Mettle', published by John F. Shaw & Co. (English School, (20th century) National Football Museum, UK

 

 

The National Football Museum has now re-opened in its new home in Manchester, where it continues to collect, preserve and interpret its unique heritage for the public benefit. It can claim to hold the world's finest collection of football artifacts and archives, including the official FIFA Collection. 

The set of images provide a unique insight into the development of football, bringing together a rich variety of paintings, prints and memorabilia including early board games, ‘Boys’ Own’ advertisements and a set of ‘humorous’ postcards from the 1890s, reflecting early attitudes towards women footballers.

Read: Football: Our Beautiful Game

View all football images

 

Portrait of W.G. Grace, 1890 by Archibald James Stuart Wortley (1849-1905) / © Marylebone Cricket Club, London
Portrait of W.G. Grace, 1890 by Archibald James Stuart Wortley (1849-1905) / © Marylebone Cricket Club, London

 

 

Marylebone Cricket Club

The MCC owns and is based at Lord’s the most famous cricket ground in the world. The MCC Museum is the oldest sports museum in the world and contains many of the game’s treasures, including the original Ashes urn. The MCC collection of paintings is unrivalled, including portraits of the greatest players in the history of the sport, which continue to be commissioned from leading contemporary artists.

MCC is delighted that the Pavilion will provide the backdrop to the archery event when, in 2012, London hosts the Olympic Games.

View all cricket images

 

Match between Colonel Henry Mellish's 'Eagle' and Sir Charles Bunbury's 'Eleanor', Newmarket, 31st October 1804 by Benjamin Marshall (1767-1835) / National Horseracing Museum, Newmarket, Suffolk, UK (detail)
Match between Colonel Henry Mellish's 'Eagle' and Sir Charles Bunbury's 'Eleanor', Newmarket, 31st October 1804 by Benjamin Marshall (1767-1835) / National Horseracing Museum, Newmarket, Suffolk, UK (detail)

 

 

National Horse Racing Museum

This Suffolk museum,  staffed by retired trainers and jockeys, brings the world of racing alive, telling the story of the people and horses involved from racing's Royal origins to today's modern heroes.

Paintings, prints and portraits of the sports leading names are amongst the images in the collection.

View all Equestrian sports images

 

 

In The Golden Days by Hugh Goldwin Riviere(1869-1956) / Thames Rowing Club, London
In The Golden Days by Hugh Goldwin Riviere(1869-1956) / Thames Rowing Club, London

 


Thames Rowing Club, based on the Putney Embankment in West London, was originally formed in 1860 for the purpose of 'organised pleasure or exercise rowing'. However, the Club's focus soon shifted to competition and, since then, its history is one of major success at club, national and international levels.

Images within the archive include paintings and photography of Henley Royal Regatta and medallists at the Olympic Games

View all water sports

 

 

Prize Fight, from 'The National Sports of Great Britain', engraved by J.H. Clarke, 1823 by Henry  Alken (1785-1851) (after) © The British Sporting Art Trust (detail)
Prize Fight, from 'The National Sports of Great Britain', engraved by J.H. Clarke, 1823 by Henry Alken (1785-1851) (after) © The British Sporting Art Trust (detail)

 

 

The British Sporting Art Trust, housed in Newmarket has been built up over the past 27 years through a combination of bequests, gifts and purchases.  The Collection spans three centuries of sporting artists and engravers, starting from the 18th century, including works by Alfred Munnings and George Stubbs.

The first painting purchased in 1978 by the Trust was a large oil on canvas of the Pinckney Family Coursing at Stonehenge, by Samuel Spode. Images include retired national sporting activities including badger catching, ferreting and bare-knuckle boxing.

A sensational selection of sporting pictures covering subjects including racing, fishing, hunting, shooting, archery and boxing.


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