Tag Archives: Chris Wormell

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Rivers

Royal Mail’s Freshwater Life series of Post & Go Stamps for 2013 culminates with a set of six stamps featuring wildlife found in the habitat of UK rivers.

The stamps, available from today from Post & Go terminals in 146 Post Office branches and at Stampex, feature creatures including the Atlantic Salmon, the River Lamprey, the White-clawed Crayfish, the Blue-winged Olive Mayfly Larva and the Minnow. The salmon and crayfish in particular have suffered a decline in numbers.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Rivers: Atlantic Salmon.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Rivers: Atlantic Salmon.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Rivers: River Lamprey.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Rivers: River Lamprey.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Rivers: White-clawed Crayfish.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Rivers: White-clawed Crayfish.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Rivers: Brown Trout.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Rivers: Brown Trout.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Rivers: Blue-winged Olive Mayfly Larva.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Rivers: Blue-winged Olive Mayfly Larva.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Rivers: Minnow.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Rivers: Minnow.

Rivers follows Ponds and Lakes as the third and final Post & Go set to be issued in 2013 – all on the subject of the UK’s freshwater life. Once again, Royal Mail commissioned Kate Stephens to produce the designs for the new Post & Go stamps. These were illustrated by lino-cut artist Chris Wormell. The national charity Pond Conservation has advised on all the stamp sets. The charity works in all freshwater environments and runs the successful annual Big Pond Dip, where the public is invited to monitor local ponds for life.

The stamps are available from Stampex, Post & Go terminals in 146 Post Office branches, at www.royalmail.com/postandgo and by phone on 08457 641 641.

Freshwater Life – Lakes Post & Go Stamps

Royal Mail’s latest Post & Go stamps, issued today, feature creatures from UK lakes. Designed by Kate Stephens and created by lino-cut artist Chris Wormell, the stamps feature The European Eel, Crucian Carp, Arctic Char, Common Toad, Perch and Caddis Fly Larva. These six species are found across the UK with four of the creatures considered rare or under threat.

This issue follows Ponds as the second of three Post & Go sets to be issued in 2013 – all on the subject of the UK’s freshwater life. The national charity Pond Conservation has advised on all the stamp sets. The charity works in all freshwater environments and runs the successful annual Big Pond Dip, where the public is invited to monitor local ponds for life. Pond Conservation’s Big Pond Dip is currently running: for more information visit; www.pondconservation.org.uk/bigponddip.

Perch – 1st class stamp from the Freshwater Life: Lakes Post & Go Stamps, issued 25th June 2013.

Perch – 1st class stamp from the Freshwater Life: Lakes Post & Go Stamps, issued 25th June 2013.

European Eel – 1st class stamp from the Freshwater Life: Lakes Post & Go Stamps, issued 25th June 2013.

European Eel – 1st class stamp from the Freshwater Life: Lakes Post & Go Stamps, issued 25th June 2013.

Crucian Carp – 1st class stamp from the Freshwater Life: Lakes Post & Go Stamps, issued 25th June 2013.

Crucian Carp – 1st class stamp from the Freshwater Life: Lakes Post & Go Stamps, issued 25th June 2013.

Caddis Fly Larvae – 1st class stamp from the Freshwater Life: Lakes Post & Go Stamps, issued 25th June 2013.

Caddis Fly Larva – 1st class stamp from the Freshwater Life: Lakes Post & Go Stamps, issued 25th June 2013.

Arctic Char – 1st class stamp from the Freshwater Life: Lakes Post & Go Stamps, issued 25th June 2013.

Arctic Char – 1st class stamp from the Freshwater Life: Lakes Post & Go Stamps, issued 25th June 2013.

Common Toad – 1st class stamp from the Freshwater Life: Lakes Post & Go Stamps, issued 25th June 2013.

Common Toad – 1st class stamp from the Freshwater Life: Lakes Post & Go Stamps, issued 25th June 2013.

The Freshwater Life Lakes stamps are available from Post & Go terminals in 146 Post Office branches, at www.royalmail.com/postandgo and by phone on 08457 641 641.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Ponds

Royal Mail’s first Post & Go Stamps for 2013 are a series on wildlife found in the habitat of UK ponds, available on a series of six stamps from today. The Ponds Post & Go stamps feature three species familiar and widespread in the UK and three which are endangered and protected by law.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Ponds stamps.

Post & Go Freshwater Life – Ponds stamps.

Lesser Silver Water Beetle

Lesser Silver Water Beetle stamp.

Lesser Silver Water Beetle stamp.

About 15cm long the lesser silver water beetle, Hydrochara caraboides, is a species of water scavenger beetle. Although the beetle is actually black, hairs on the underside of its body trap a silvery looking air bubble that enables the beetle to breathe underwater, giving the beetle its name. Eggs are laid in spring or early summer, and the larvae are often found from May to July, floating just below the surface. Adults are herbivores and feed on decaying plant matter, but the larvae are carnivores, and feed on water snails.

In the UK it is found only in the Somerset Levels, Cheshire and north-east Wales. It is classified as an endangered species protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Three-Spined Stickleback

Three-Spined Stickleback stamp.

Three-Spined Stickleback stamp.

The three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus, is larger of our two sticklebacks. It is usually 5cm long (but may reach, exceptionally, twice that length). In front of the dorsal fin there are the three spines that give the fish its name (though some individuals may have 2 or 4). The stickleback can live in fresh, brackish or salt water and is found in ditches, ponds, lakes, backwaters, quiet rivers, sheltered bays, marshes, and harbours.

Smooth Newt

Smooth Newt stamp.

Smooth Newt stamp.

Also known as the Common Newt, Lissotriton vulgaris is found throughout Europe except the far north, areas of Southern France, and the Iberian peninsula. Females and non-breeding males are pale brown or olive green, often with two darker stripes on the back. Both sexes have an orange belly, although in females it is paler. This is covered in rounded black spots. They have a pale throat with conspicuous spots. During the breeding season, males develop a continuous wavy crest that runs from their head to their tail, and their spotted markings become more apparent. They are also distinguishable from females by their fringed toes.

Like other amphibians their eggs are laid in the water and hatch into tadpoles, which eventually develop into air breathing adults

Fairy Shrimp

Fairy Shrimp stamp.

Fairy Shrimp stamp.

The fairy shrimp Chirocephalus diaphanous, is a beautiful, translucent crustacean, which lacks a carapace. It has a relatively large number of segments and bears 11 pairs of legs fringed with bristles; the head curves downwards, and in males the second pair of antennae are modified ‘claspers’ for grabbing females during mating. Fairy shrimps swim around on their backs, propelled by the constantly moving legs.

They hatch during the cooler parts of the year, as water returns to their shallow ponds, which dried out during the summer. They reach maturity over winter, then lay eggs, which can survive long periods of drought and then die when their ponds dry out in spring. It is found in no more than 100 ponds in the whole of the UK.

Fairy shrimps are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act and can be found in Hampshire’s New Forest, on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon, on Salisbury Plain, in parts of the Sussex Weald, as well as in Oxfordshire, East Anglia and South Wales.

Emperor Dragonfly

Emperor Dragonfly stamp.

Emperor Dragonfly stamp.

The Emperor Dragonfly, Anax imperator, is a large and powerful species of hawker dragonfly averaging 78 millimetres in length. It is found in Europe, Africa and Asia. Males have a sky blue abdomen with a black dorsal stripe and an apple green thorax. Females have a green thorax and abdomen. The species lives by ponds, gravel pits, and slow rivers, where they feed on other insects and tadpoles.

Eggs are laid on pondweed and the larvae develop underwater as ferocious predators feeding on invertebrates, tadpoles and even small fish.

Glutinous Snail

Glutinous Snail stamp.

Glutinous Snail stamp.

The glutinous snail, Myxas glutinosa is a small air-breathing freshwater snail. This snail is unusual in that it extends its almost transparent mantle to completely cover the shell when moving, giving the animal a glass-like appearance. It also makes the animal sticky to the touch, hence its common name. It is only found in very clear, clean ponds, lakes and canals.

This species has undergone a big decline, and while it was once found throughout the UK it is now known from only one site in Wales. As a result it is classified as Endangered in the UK and protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The reasons for its decline are almost certainly due to water pollution particularly from nutrient enrichment.

Ponds is the first of three Post & Go sets to be issued in 2013 – all on the subject of the UK’s freshwater life. As with all previous Post & Go stamps to date, Royal Mail commissioned Kate Stephens to produce the designs. These were illustrated by lino-cut artist Chris Wormell. The national charity Pond Conservation has advised on all the stamp sets. The charity works in all freshwater environments and runs the successful annual Big Pond Dip, where the public is invited to monitor local ponds for life.

The Ponds Post & Go stamps will be available from Post & Go terminals in 146 Post Office branches. The initial design used for the self-adhesive stamps, which are overprinted with the postage on demand, featured the profile of Her Majesty the Queen created by Arnold Machin and used on UK definitive stamps. Pictorial versions of these new kinds of stamps were introduced with Birds of Britain in 2010 and 2011 followed by British Farm Animals in 2012.

Post & Go terminals allow customers to weigh their letters and packets, pay for and print postage stamps and labels without the need to visit the counter. The first Post & Go machine was trialled in The Galleries Post Office in Bristol in 2008. Since 2008 over 220 terminals have been installed in 146 branches. BPMA has a Post & Go machine located in the foyer of the Royal Mail Archive which is currently offering the Union Flag and gold Machin designs.

150 Years of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

Britain is said to be a nation of animal lovers, so it’s no surprise to see the 150th Anniversary of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home celebrated on a new set of commemoratives released by Royal Mail today. 

Established in 1860 by Mary Tealby as the Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs, in Holloway, north London, the charity moved to its present home in Battersea in 1871, and in 1883 started taking in cats. Its motto is simple – “We aim never to turn away a dog or cat in need of our help” – and every year 12,000 animals are taken in by the Home’s three centres in London, Kent and Berkshire.

The 150th Anniversary of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home stamps

The 150th Anniversary of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home stamps

The dogs and cats featured on the new stamps were all abandoned by their owners, but later re-homed by the charity. They were beautifully photographed by Steve Hoskins, and sit proudly amongst the many previous stamp issues featuring dogs and cats.

Constable's painting The Hay Wain as it appeared on a stamp in 1968

The Hay Wain by Constable on a 1968 stamp

The first dogs and cats on British stamps were incidental figures, in the backgrounds of scenes. The earliest example we could find is a dog which can be seen in the background of rural Suffolk scene in Constable’s painting The Hay Wain, featured on a stamp as part of the British Paintings issue, 1968. The dog is a little hard to see, but you can zoom in on the painting to see it at the website of the National Gallery, who own the painting.

Early produce fairs stamp, from the British Fairs issue 1983

Early produce fairs stamp, 1983

The first cat on a British stamp that we could find can be seen in the background of a stamp on Early Produce Fairs, released in 1983 as part of the British Fairs series. The cat, visible as a purple silhouette only, observes the other animals, and the fruits and vegetables, which are on sale. The British Fairs issue was designed by Andrew Restall, and some of Restall’s original sketches for this issue are held by the Aldrich Collection, University of Brighton.

Dogs stamp issue, 1979

Dogs stamp issue, 1979

The first British stamp issue dedicated to Dogs was released in 1979 and features painting of four different breeds of dog by artist Peter Barrett. Barrett is best known for his watercolours and illustrations of wildlife and the countryside.

Kitten stamp from RSPCA 150th Anniversary stamps, 1990

Kitten stamp from RSPCA 150th Anniversary issue, 1990

A kitten appeared on a stamp released as part of the 150th Anniversary of the Royal Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in 1990.

And a further set of dogs stamps was released in 1991, celebrating the work of painter George Stubbs (perhaps better known for his paintings of horses). One of the paintings used, A Couple of Foxhounds, is on display at the Tate Gallery. Two of the others, A Rough Dog and Fino and Tiny are part of the Royal Collection. Fino and Tiny belonged to the Prince of Wales, later King George IV, and the painting is presumed to have been painted for him.

Dogs stamp issue, 1991

Dogs stamp issue, 1991

Cats finally got their own set of stamps in 1995. The stamps featured five paintings by the noted Scottish artist Elizabeth Blackadder.

The Cats stamp issue, 1995

The Cats stamp issue, 1995

A series of artistic black and white photographs by a number of photographers appeared on the 2001 issue Cats and Dogs.

The Cats & Dogs First Day Cover, 2001

The Cats & Dogs First Day Cover, 2001

There were two special first day of issue postmarks for the Cats and Dogs issue, one with a cats claw print and one with a dogs paw print. This idea is repeated for the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home issue.

First day of issue postmarks for the 150th Anniversary of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home issue.

First day of issue postmarks for the 150th Anniversary of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home issue.

Border Collie stamp from Farm Animals issue, 2005

Border Collie stamp, 2005

Finally, how could we forget the Border Collie included in the 2005 Farm Animals issue? Border Collies are working dogs, often used on farms to herd livestock. The illustrations on the Farm Animals stamps were by Chris Wormell, well known for his lino cuts, engravings and children’s book illustrations.