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BALCK, Viktor (1844–1928), ed.

Illustrerad idrottsbok. Handledning i olika grenar af idrott och lekar. Under medverkan af flere bland idrottens utöfvare och målsmän inom landet. Första – Tredje delen [& Supplement]: Vetenskapliga och ovetenskapliga förströelser, till största delen efter utländska arbeten samlade af Carl Smith.
Stockholm, C. E. Fritzes K. Hofbokhandel, 1886-1888.

Only edition of this Swedish classic, an encyclopedia of sports and games in three volumes with over 2000 pages richly illustrated with over 1750 figures in the text. At the time of its publication it was one of the most comprehensive works on the subject with few foreign counterparts. A Danish version by V. Hansen appeared in Copenhagen in 1890-1893. Balck, who dominated Swedish sports, had been acquainted with Pierre de Coubertin since 1889, and was elected a member of the first International Olympic Committee. He visited the Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896 and 1906. A close cooperation was established between the two and in 1912 the Olympic Games were held in Stockholm, which became a great success. Balck also started and was editor of the first Swedish journal of sports, Tidning för Idrott (1881-1897) and also contributed to its successor Ny Tidning för Idrott. His most famous work, Illustrerad Idrottsbok (Illustrated Book of Athletics), covers all kinds of sports and games practised at the time with emphasis on Anglo-Saxon, but also including many local Swedish games. The work is divided into chapters written by specialists in sailing, rowing, canoeing, swimming, equestrian sports, games, hunting, shooting, winter sports such as skating, skiing, hand-sailing, ice-yachting, sledging, etc. Balck himself contributed with gymnastics, fencing, and athletics. There is a long chapter on 'bicycle riding’ (Hjulsport) by Adolf Östberg with 126 figures, one on float-fishing (Fiske med metspö) by Rudolf Lundberg with 257 illustrations, followed by a chapter on tourists sports. The illustrations were drawn by a dozen well-known Swedish artists including the internationally famous animal painter Bruno Liljefors, who himself was an elite athlete, who had toured with Balck in England with performances at the Crystal Palace. For a short period Liljefors, together with his two brothers, worked as an acrobat in a music hall in Stockholm, under the name of the Manzondi Brothers. The Appendix on scientific and unscientific amusements is about physical experiments. Besides training the muscles it was meant to train the five senses or the Five Gates of Learning – the eye, the ear, the nose, the mouth and the skin.

Collation: Vol.I: pp viii, viii (preface by Frithiof Holmgren), (16) a preliminary list of contents for the whole work and examples of illustrations (not present in all copies), 494; vol. II: pp (4), x, 648; vol. II: pp xviii, 574; Supplement: pp (8), 292. With ca. 1750 figures in the text.

Binding: Four volumes. Publisher’s half calf, richly gilt and pictorical gilt spines and covers.

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