Tag Archives: adhesive stamps

The Design is in the Post – Artists and the GPO

Artists and writers Brian Webb and Peyton Skipwith, who have penned a series of books exploring the work of notable British designers of the 20th Century, will speak at the BPMA on 20th May. The focus of their talk will be the many artists who have worked for the GPO, and how those artists helped to shape the GPO’s image.

The ‘pre-war’ artists Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious, Barnett Freedman and Eric Gill will be covered in some length, along with well known stamp designers such as Edmund Dulac and Bertram Mackennal. Present day artists who worked on the Millennium stamps, David Hockney, Peter Blake, Craigie Aicheson, David Gentleman, Claire Melinsky and John Lawrence, will also be examined.

Brian Webb has kindly sent us some of the images he will show in the talk:

Magazine cover by Edward Bawden

Magazine cover by Edward Bawden

Eric Ravilious’ un-adopted design for the Adhesive Stamp Centenary, 1940

Eric Ravilious’ un-adopted design for the Adhesive Stamp Centenary, 1940

One of David Gentleman’s illustrations from The Swiss Family Robinson, 1963

One of David Gentleman’s illustrations from The Swiss Family Robinson, 1963

Millenium stamps: Freddie Mercury, 2000, designed by Peter Blake

Millenium stamps: Freddie Mercury, 2000, designed by Peter Blake

Further information and booking details for The Design is in the Post – Artists and the GPO can be found on our website.

David Gentleman Design by Brian Webb and Peyton Skipwith is available from the BPMA Shop.

2009 Christmas Stamps

Royal Mail has today released this year’s Christmas stamps, a set of seven adhesive stamps designed by Andrew Ross, featuring stained-glass windows produced in the 19th Century. It has generally been the tradition for British Christmas stamps to alternate between religious and more secular themes, and these stamps come on the back of last year’s Christmas pantomime stamps.

2009 Christmas stamps

2009 Christmas stamps

Perhaps surprisingly, stained-glass windows have only appeared on Christmas stamps twice before, in 1971 and 1992. The 1971 stamps were designed by Collis Clements who had submitted his original designs to the Stamp Advisory Committee for the 1970 Christmas stamps.

Collis Clement's 1970 Christmas stamp designs

Collis Clement's 1970 Christmas stamp designs

While designs by Sally Stiff were chosen in 1970, Clement’s were held over for 1971 and were judged to be better than those submitted by other designers in that year.

Collis Clement's 1971 Christmas stamps

Collis Clement's 1971 Christmas stamps

As Clement’s stamps depicted scenes from a 12th century stained glass window in Canterbury Cathedral the Post Office decided to provide a special pictorial postmark at Canterbury. It was circular, 15/16 inches in diameter, with the Cathedral as a central motif.

2009 Christmas postmark from Bethlehem

2009 Christmas postmark from Bethlehem

First day of issue (FDI) postmarks for ‘Bethlehem, Llandeilo, Carms’ had become popular with collectors since the first British Christmas stamps were issued in 1966 and for the Christmas 1970 stamps the Post Office provided a pictorial FDI postmark at this location. The pictorial postmark had been considered a success by the Post Office and was repeated in 1971 with a different design, this time showing a star-shaped snowflake motif to the left of a circular datestamp, 2¾ inches by 15/16 inches. The tradition of a FDI postmark for Bethlehem continues to this day, with a stained-glass window-style “praying hands” design available this year.

The 1992 stained glass Christmas stamps were designed by Carroll, Dempsey and Thirkell who have worked on a number of projects for Royal Mail including the Millennium series (1999-2000), Machin stamp books, the Microcosmos Prestige Stamp Book (2003) and Sounds of Britain (2006). Like this year’s Christmas stamps, the 1992 issue featured stained-glass windows from a variety of churches around Britain.

1992 Christmas stamps by Carroll, Dempsey and Thirkell

1992 Christmas stamps by Carroll, Dempsey and Thirkell

The 2009 Christmas stamps are now available from http://www.royalmail.com/stamps