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 Ravelry.com, 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:
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.
Here are two more versions – a square one (great for avatars and such) and a transparent one for backgrounds:
(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:
There was a version flown in Ireland, representing the “Protectorate”:
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:
(For an .svg version, go here.)
(For an .svg rather than a .png, go here.)
(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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