Lap 25 out of 33
Continuing the sporting references (all of which are too clichéd to be called puns but nevertheless require delivering with a burst of boom-boom foot shuffles) as part of the unfolding story of Portrait of the Nation, here is the latest instalment in the planning of the exhibition: Playing for Scotland: the Making of Modern Sport.
The unloneliness of a long distance curator (status achieved due to the close working relationship enjoyed with colleagues in order to deliver this project) was tempered last week upon a first visit to the Portrait Gallery since the building has been handed back from the contractors. Walking along Queen Street buffeted by the excessive wind felt like an endurance test but as the south-west tower of the Gallery came seemingly slowly into vision, like a trusted loved one waiting at the end of the marathon finish line, a sense of excitement loomed. The marathon comparison really is topical as it will be just over twenty-six months, when we move back into the building in June, since the Gallery closed in April 2009.
Waiting inside the soon-to-be portrait arena were the runners and riders at the Dumfries Races in October 1834 alongside the Slashing Snob who made an appearance in the boxing ring in Perth in May 1852. Also at the Gallery were the Scottish and English football teams from 1902, and two ladies’ football teams representing munitions factories from Scotland and England who played each other in a charity match in 1918.
This cast of characters will be represented by the original advertisements for these sporting events in the form of large banners which will hang from the ceiling in Playing for Scotland: the Making of Modern Sport. In other areas work on the displays continues. Keep checking into Heads Up to see what we have planned for the displays in the Library.