Tag Archives: portrait

Royal Portraits

To mark the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Her Majesty The Queen, Royal Mail has unveiled a special stamp issue featuring a collection of some of the finest ever portraits of The Queen, including a brand new painted portrait; the first Royal Mail has commissioned of the monarch.

The six Royal Portraits stamps, issued 30 May 2013.

The six Royal Portraits stamps, issued 30 May 2013.

The painting is the result of three especially convened sittings with The Queen for the artist, Nicky Philipps, that took place in the Chinese Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace in the late autumn of 2012. The Queen is dressed in the Order of the Garter robes.

Portrait of Her Majesty The Queen by Nicky Philipps, specially commissioned by Royal Mail.

Portrait of Her Majesty The Queen by Nicky Philipps, specially commissioned by Royal Mail.

Nicky painted a double portrait of Princes William and Harry in 2009, which is displayed in the National Portrait Gallery. She was selected for the Royal Mail commission after research and consultation with the National Portrait Gallery, Royal Mail is gifting the portrait to the Royal Collection.

The Queen’s Coronation took place on 2 June 1953 following her accession on 6 February 1952.

The other five stamps feature; study for The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II by Terence Cuneo, 1953; Portrait by Andrew Festing, 1999; Portrait by Pietro Annigoni, 1955; Portrait by Sergei Pavlenko, 2000 and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Richard Stone, 1992.

Study for The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II by Terence Cuneo, 1953 – 2nd Class.

Study for The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II by Terence Cuneo, 1953 – 2nd Class.

Portrait by Nicola Jane Philipps (Nicky), 2013 - 1st Class.

Portrait by Nicola Jane Philipps (Nicky), 2013 – 1st Class.

Portrait by Andrew Festing, 1999 – 78p.

Portrait by Andrew Festing, 1999 – 78p.

Portrait by Pietro Annigoni, 1955 - 88p.

Portrait by Pietro Annigoni, 1955 – 88p.

Portrait by Sergei Pavlenko, 2000 – £1.28.

Portrait by Sergei Pavlenko, 2000 – £1.28.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Richard Stone, 1992 - £1.88.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Richard Stone, 1992 – £1.88.

The Royal Portraits stamps are now available from 9,000 Post Offices across the UK, online at www.royalmail.com/royalportraits, and by phone on 08457 641 641.

“Off with her head!”

Our display “Off with her head!” will form part of the ABPS National Philatelic Exhibition in Perth, taking place 19–20 October 2012. The display consists of four sections; A Portrait with Problems, The battle for Change, The Gentleman Album and The End of the Affair.

In 1964 Tony Benn became Postmaster General and immediately set about trying to change conservative thinking at the Post Office. He had determined ideas about stamps – to widen their scope, and to remove the Queen’s head. He found a like mind in David Gentleman, who already had several stamp designs to his credit.

The Queen did not agree with her head being removed from stamps and in response Gentleman created a small cameo head in profile as an alternative.

David Gentleman's experiments with the cameo head of the Queen.

David Gentleman’s experiments with the cameo head of the Queen.

The cameo head came to be accepted in place of the Wilding portrait. It was used from the Landscapes issue of 1966 until it was replaced with the new Machin commemorative head in 1968.

Uniquely, for the Robert Burns issue, the designers (all Scottish) were instructed that they could also submit “non-traditional” designs. In practice, this meant designs without the Queen’s head. Several did, and a total of 21 (out of 40) carried the legend U.K. POSTAGE, or a crown, or royal cypher.

Jock Kinneir's design, showing Burns’ signature without the Queen’s head.

Jock Kinneir’s design, showing Burns’ signature without the Queen’s head.

Some 12 different designs were essayed and those first chosen were “non-traditional” signatures of Burns. However, in the meantime, it had been decided to retain the head of the monarch and so the designs were re-essayed with that addition. In the end, a more traditional approach was preferred.

Jock Kinneir's revised designs, showing Burns’ signature and portrait without the Queen’s head.

Jock Kinneir’s revised designs, showing Burns’ signature and portrait without the Queen’s head.

For more information on the revolutionary stamp designs of David Gentleman see our online exhibition Gentleman on Stamps.

Our paintings on Your Paintings

The BPMA is the custodian of two main collections: the archive of the Royal Mail and the BPMA Museum Collection. The vast influence the postal industry has had in shaping British society, and the world, is reflected throughout our collections. They include photographs, films, ephemera, weapons, uniforms, vehicles, trains and letterboxes – and artwork, including a number of works in oil.

The subject matter of our oil paintings includes portraits of people who had a significant impact on postal services, such as past Postmaster Generals or Secretaries of the Post Office, as well of those of unnamed postal workers.

Portrait of a Postman (Alex Buchanan) by Thomas Patterson (2004-0077)

Portrait of a Postman (Alex Buchanan) by Thomas Patterson (2004-0077)

Specific historical events are depicted, such as the bombing of Mount Pleasant Parcel depot in the Second World War, while others are more general scenes of times past, including extensive representations of the Mail Coach era.

The Halfway House: A Mail Coach outside the 'Greyhounds Inn' by James Pollard (OB1995.519)

The Halfway House: A Mail Coach outside the ‘Greyhounds Inn’ by James Pollard (OB1995.519)

Changing transport methods, from the seas to the skies, and road to rails, is also captured in these works.

Mobile Post Office, Henley by Adrian Keith Graham Hill (POST 109/203)

Mobile Post Office, Henley by Adrian Keith Graham Hill (POST 109/203)

Landmark buildings – such as the GPO Tower and the old GPO building in the City of London – sit next to depictions of local post offices and more domestic scenes; the excitement of receiving a letter is portrayed more than once.

The Postman by Thomas Liddall Armitage (OBB 1997.5)

The Postman by Thomas Liddall Armitage (OBB 1997.5)

Recently our collection of oil paintings was made available on the Your Paintings website, a partnership between the BBC and the Public Catalogue Foundation which aims to show the entire UK national collection of oil paintings. Paintings from thousands of museums and other public institutions appear on the site.

Visit the BPMA page on Your Paintings to see our collection of works in oil, or search the site to view postal-themed paintings from other institutions. We like Army Post Office 3, Boulogne by John Lavery from the Imperial War Museum, and Post Office, Port Sunlightby Keith Gardner from The Port Sunlight Museum. What’s your favourite?