gsk ventolin

Since the Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics in London are tonight (9 pm BST – British Summer Time which is 4 pm EDT here in Ohio USA – though they won’t be broadcast until 7:30 pm our time), and, in the tradition of Opening Ceremonies, they will celebrate all things British – well I thought that some general British graphics should be the order of the day today.

For those of you participating in the Ravellenic Games 2012 on the fiber-arts social site, feel free to use these graphics to make “Ravatars” and place-holding graphics for projects. (Just don’t use the Olympic rings in your graphics, as per the US Olympic Committee’s request.) (And if you are looking for a project for the Games, consider making TARDIS Socks!)

Here we go! (As always, click on an image to see it full size for downloading…) First, the Olympics are being held in London, where they have been twice before in modern times (1908 and 1948). One of the enduring symbols of London and Great Britain is Big Ben. A more modern landmark is the London Eye – the giant ferris wheel overlooking the Thames. Here is a photograph with both of them:

Big Ben and London Eye, London, England

Big Ben with the London Eye in the background, c. 2005. Photograph by Steffen Banhardt, released into the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

And now for flags. The “Union Jack” is commonly used symbol of Great Brittain, though the current design is properly called the “Flag of Union”, referring to the union of England and Ireland in 1801. (It still has semi-offiicial status in some independent British Commonwealth nations, such as Canada, where it is called the “Royal Flag”.) It consists of the red “Cross of St. George” (patron of England) superimposed upon the white diagonal “Cross of St. Andrew” (patron of Scotland), along with the red diagonal “Cross of St. Patrick” (patron of Ireland), all upon a field of blue. (Wales, though a part of Great Britain, doesn’t seem to enter into the equation for some reason…) You can read a short Wikipedia article on the Union Jack and the correct proportions of each element here, if you really want.

Flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, commonly called the “Union Jack”. From Wikimedia Commons.

Here are two more versions – a square one (great for avatars and such) and a transparent one for backgrounds:

Square version of Union Jack

Okay… it’s not perfectly square but square enough! From Wikimedia Commons.

Union Jack Background

A transparent, faded Union Jack for tiling as a background. From Wikimedia Commons.

(If you want a Union Jack that is an .svg file rather than a .png file, go here on Wikimedia Commons to get it. And be careful of where the red diagonal lines of the St. Patrick’s cross fall – contrary to the opinion of some, you can fly the Union Jack upside down!)

Early versions of the flag of Union did not include the red diagonal cross for Ireland, only the crosses for England and Scotland. The red lines of the Cross of St. Patrick were only added in 1801. There were two versions used, the English and the Scottish. The Scottish one was unofficial, resulting from objections to the red cross of St. George being on top of the white cross of St. Andrew:

English version of the Flag of Great Britain

Flag of Great Britain, English version. From Wikimedia Commons.

Scottish Version of Flag of Great Britain

Flag of Great Britain, unofficial “Scottish version”. From Wikimedia Commons.

There was a version flown in Ireland, representing the “Protectorate”:

Flag of Commonwealth 1658-1660

Flag of the Commonwealth (1658-1660), with the Irish harp in the middle. From Wikipedia Commons.

As I noted above, the current design has been in use to represent the United Kingdom since 1801. Here are the component parts of it:

Flag of England

Flag of England, also known St. George’s Cross.

(For an .svg version, go here.)


Flag of Scotland

Flag of Scotland, the Cross of St. Andrew. From Wikimedia Commons.

(For an .svg rather than a .png, go here.)


St. Patrick's Cross

St. Patrick’s Cross, from Wikimedia Commons.

(For a .svg rather than a .png, go here.)

Whew! Enough flags! Pick one or several and have fun! (But be sure your Union Jack is flying right way up!!!)

Ravellers: See you at the “Mass Cast On” at 4 pm my time!



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This entry was posted on Friday, July 27th, 2012 at 11:34 (11:34 am) and is filed under Daily Public Domain Image, Images from other sites. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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