Tag Archives: Kate Stephens

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.

Final Post & Go British Farm Animals stamps issued: Cattle

Royal Mail rounds off its British Farm Animals series of Post & Go stamps with its third and final issue featuring six examples of cattle breeds found in the British Isles.

The Post & Go Cattle stamps issued today include the extremely endangered Irish Moiled, one of Britain’s oldest the White Park, and one world’s best known breeds, the Aberdeen Angus.

Post & Go Cattle issue

Post & Go Cattle issue

The Aberdeen Angus also has royal connections: HRH Prince Charles is the patron of the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society and has a successful herd at Highgrove.

The other cattle featured on the stamps are the Welsh Black, Highland and Red Poll.

As with all previous Post & Go pictorial stamps, Royal Mail has commissioned Kate Stephens to oversee the designs, which are illustrated by wildlife artist Robert Gillmor. The British Farm Animals series began with sheep in February, followed by pigs in April.

The Cattle Post & Go pictorial 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 in September 2010 with the first in the Birds of Britain series.

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.

Two First Day of Issue handstamps are available to accompany this issue.

Post & Go Cattle - First Day of Issue handstamps

Post & Go Cattle – First Day of Issue handstamps

Designing the Diamond Jubilee stamps

Earlier this year we marked the 60th year of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign by opening our Diamond Jubilee exhibition. The exhibition includes stamp artwork, issued stamps and other material, and it can be viewed for free by visiting the Royal Mail Archive.

To complement the exhibition we have invited designer Kate Stephens and Royal Mail Design Manager (Stamps & Collectibles) Catharine Brandy to discuss the recent Diamond Jubilee stamp issue at an event on Thursday 27th September. The pair will give a presentation looking at the design of the stamps which will be followed by a question and answer session.

Stamps from the recent Diamond Jubilee issue.

Stamps from the recent Diamond Jubilee issue.

The event takes place at the Phoenix Centre, next to the Royal Mail Archive, at 7pm on Thursday 27th September and costs £3.00 (£2.50 concession). Book your tickets online by visiting our website.

Get an online preview of the Diamond Jubilee exhibition at www.postalheritage.org.uk/diamondjubilee.

Diamond Jubilee Exhibition opens

Tomorrow, 10 May 2012 a new exhibition featuring material celebrating the Diamond Jubilee will open in the BPMA Search Room. The display includes an exclusive insight into the making of the stamps released to mark this special occasion.

An early proposal by Sedley Place for the Diamond Jubilee miniature sheet layout

Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne on 6 February 1952 on the death of her father King George VI. In 2012, she celebrates 60 years on the throne, her Diamond Jubilee. This exhibition shows how the two stamp issues from Royal Mail marking the Jubilee came about. The first was a miniature sheet issued in February featuring six definitives with iconic portraits from stamps, coins and banknotes. For the second special issue a series of photographs were chosen by Kate Stephens of the Queen’s life “in action” as monarch.

Both stamps from banknotes – the 1960 version by Robert Austin and the 1970 version by Harry Eccleston

The monarch, or ruler, has been the symbol of the country since at least Roman times. Alone, he or she has always represented the United Kingdom on coins and postage stamps, without any other indication of country name. For stamps, this is unique in the world. On Bank of England banknotes, however, the use of the monarch’s head is much more recent, only dating from 1960. How each of the six portraits came about is the subject of the main exhibition case. The original source photograph or sketch is followed by the origination or artwork (in the case of coins plaster casts) and an example of the item – such as Specimen banknotes from the Bank of England or coins from the Royal Mint Museum. You can then see how this has translated into the modern stamp. An accompanying brochure gives more details.

August 2011 essays with wrong values of Diamond Jubilee designs showing Her Majesty The Queen “in action”, by Kate Stephens

The Queen “in action”
Kate Stephens has been successful in designing several royal and non-royal related stamp issues. It was therefore natural to turn to her when considering images for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. How she created the commemorative issue (based on her previous research) is described in the third display case and in the brochure.

– Douglas N. Muir, Curator (Philately) –

SPECIAL DIAMOND JUBILEE OFFER: Celebrate this year’s Diamond Jubilee with a beautiful Wedgwood Jasperware plate in Portland Blue featuring one of the most well-known portraits of Queen Elizabeth II: the ‘Machin head’ – the white cameo relief created by Arnold Machin as the definitive stamp design. The dish is available in our online shop. The BPMA offer 10% discount on this wonderful souvenir – simply enter the discount code JU81L33 at checkout until 6 June 2012.

Post and Go pictorial stamps – Garden Birds

Now available from the Post and Go terminals in 30 Crown Post Offices are six illustrated stamps featuring Garden Birds. The birds chosen are some of the most commonly seen in gardens in the UK, the Robin, Starling, House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Goldfinch and Wood Pigeon.

Post and Go Garden Birds stamps

Post and Go Garden Birds stamps

The stamps are designed by Kate Stephens, the UK’s most prolific female stamp designer, and illustrated by wildlife artist and ornithologist Robert Gillmor. Gillmor’s bird images were made using the linocut method and an old printing press. Speaking to Eastern Daily Press recently, Gillmor said:

It is very interesting that my stamps will appear on people’s letters and parcels using the latest technology, especially as my artwork was created using a 161-year-old printing press.

Post and Go terminals are a self service facility which allows customers to weigh their letters and packets, and pay for and print postage labels. While the Garden Birds stamps are only available in 30 Post Offices (see the list below), a second set in the Birds of Britain series will be available from all Post and Go terminals from next year.

Two pictorial First Day of Issue postmarks are available, one with a map of the British Isles and the other with a speckled egg.

Post and Go Garden Birds First Day of Issue postmarks

Post and Go Garden Birds First Day of Issue postmarks

Unstamped Royal Mail First Day Cover envelopes (price 30p) are only available from the 30 Post Offices selling the Garden Birds Post and Go stamps. Alternatively, collectors may send stamped covers for the first day of issue to Royal Mail, Tallents House, 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9PB, quoting reference FD10 39 (Tallents House) or to any Special Handstamp Centre quoting reference FD10 40 (BRISTOL pictorial postmark) or FD10 40NP (non-pictorial).

Location of Post & Go machines selling Garden Birds pictorial stamps

East of England
Stevenage – 22-23 Westgate, Stevenage, SG1 1QR
Cambridge – 9-11 St Andrew Street, Cambridge, CB2 3AA
Southend-on-Sea – 199-201 High Street, Southend-On-Sea, SS1 1LL
Colchester – 68-70 North Hill, Colchester, CO1 1PX
Castle Mall, Norwich – 84-85 Castle Meadow Walk, Castle Mall, Norwich, NR1 3DD
Milton Keynes – 17-19 Crown Walk, Milton Keynes, MK9 3AH
Luton – The Arndale Centre, 42-44 Smith Lane, Luton, LU1 2LP

London
Old St – 205 Old Street, London, EC1V 9QN
Trafalgar Sq – 24-28 William IV Street, London, WC2N 4DL
Croydon – 10 High Street, Croydon, CR9 1HT
City of London – 12 Eastcheap, London, EC3M 1AJ
Baker St – 111 Baker Street, London, W1U 6SG
Paddington Quay – Unit 6, West End Quay, 4 Praed Street, London, W2 1JE

Midlands
Nottingham – Queen Street, Nottingham, NG1 2BN
Walsall – Darwall Street, Walsall, WS1 1AA
Birmingham – 1 Pinfold Street, Birmingham, B2 4AA

North
Durham – 33 Silver Street, Durham, DH1 3RE
York – 22 Lendal, York, YO1 8DA
Grimsby – 67-71 Victoria Street, Grimsby, DN31 1AA
Harrogate – 11 Cambridge Road, Harrogate, HG1 1AA
Corn Exchange, Liverpool – India Building, ‘Water Street, Liverpool, L2 0RR

Northern Ireland
Belfast – 12 – 16 Bridge Street, Belfast  BT1 1LT

Scotland
Glasgow – 47 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5QX
Edinburgh – 8-10 St James Centre, Edinburgh, EH1 3SR

South West
Portsmouth – Slindon Street, Portsmouth, PO1 1AB
Truro – High Cross, Truro, TR1 2AP
Plymouth – 5 St Andrews Cross, St Andrews Cross, Plymouth, PL1 1AB
The Galleries, Bristol – Castle Gallery, Broadmead, Bristol  BS1 3XX
Exeter – 28 Bedford Street, Exeter, EX1 1GJ

Wales
Cardiff – 45-46 Queens Arcade, Queen Street, Cardiff, CF10 2BY

The Post and Go stamps are also available from Stampex.