Tag Archives: Wedgwood

Queens’ anniversaries

This June not only marks the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation on 2 June 1953 but also 175 years since another female British monarch was crowned; the young Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom on 28 June 1838. Both queens have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee and are the United Kingdom’s longest serving monarchs – a remarkable achievement, which is also reflected in the eventful periods that mark their reigns spanning over decades of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

Victoria oversaw a whole era of innovation, which was particularly true in postal affairs. The world’s first postage stamp, The Penny Black, was issued during her reign on 6 May 1840 and featured the young queen’s portrait.

The Penny Black and "Machin" stamp designs.

The Penny Black and “Machin” stamp designs.

Since Queen Elizabeth II’s ascension to the throne in 1952, many ground-breaking changes have taken place in every part of British life. In stamp design, the Queen’s head was almost removed from pictorial stamps but finally a new timeless and classic design was finally commissioned for definitive stamps: the “Machin stamp”, featuring Queen Elizabeth II’s effigy. Based on the white cameo relief created by Arnold Machin this iconic design has been reproduced on stamps over 200 billion time since 1965.

To commemorate these two extraordinary anniversaries, the British Postal Museum & Archive Shop is now offering a unique set of Wedgwood Jasperware plates featuring the two classic portraits of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II from stamp design. A Black Basalt plate shows Queen Victoria’s portrait from The Penny Black, and a Portland Blue dish features Queen Elizabeth II’s image from the “Machin Head”. The plates are 11cm in diameter with a white wreath of laurel leaves on the border and come beautifully presented in a Wedgwood box. You can now purchase this ideal souvenir of the coronation anniversaries in 2013 as a set for £17.50 from the BPMA online shop (plus P&P).

Wedgwood Jasperware Set.

Wedgwood Jasperware Set.

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.

The Diamond Jubilee Miniature Sheet

The Diamond Jubilee Miniature Sheet is available from today; it marks the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen’s accession to the Throne. The new 1st Class stamps on the sheet feature iconic images of Queen Elizabeth II from stamps, notes and coins issued throughout Her 60-year reign.

The Diamond Jubilee Miniature Stamp Sheet

The Diamond Jubilee Miniature Stamp Sheet

Included among the six stamps is a brand new 1st Class diamond blue definitive stamp, millions of which will replace the current standard gold definitive in Post Offices during 2012.

The first stamp on the new definitive sheet is inspired by the very first stamp issued during Her Majesty The Queen’s reign. This 1952 stamp featured a classic photograph by society photographer Dorothy Wildling. The set also includes portraits taken from a £1 banknote first issued in 1960, and a £5 note issued in 1971. The images used which are taken from coins include a pre-decimal portrait first issued in 1953, on a coin minted the same year, and an image from a 1971 decimal coin which featured a portrait created by Arnold Machin.

The new diamond blue Machin stamp completes the set and features Arnold Machin’s iconic image on a blue background that highlights the words ‘Diamond Jubilee’ in iridescent ink. Since it first appeared in 1967, this timeless image has been reproduced on more than 220 billion of Royal Mail’s definitive stamps.

The fully illustrated presentation pack of The Diamond Jubilee Miniature Sheet is written by Douglas Muir, Curator, Philately, of the British Postal Museum and Archive. He takes a look at the history and iconography of Queen Elizabeth II portraiture on stamps, coins and banknotes. The pack was designed by Studio Dempsey, and printed by Walsall Security Printers.

First Day of Issue Postmarks

First Day of Issue Postmarks

The Stamp Sheet and the new Diamond Jubilee 1st Class Definitive stamps as well as additional philatelic products are available at all Post Office branches, from Royal Mail website, the Royal Mail eBay shop and from Royal Mail Tallents House (tel. 08457 641 641), 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB.

The BPMA Shop now offers a beautiful collector’s item to celebrate this year’s Diamond Jubilee: a Wedgwood Jasperware plate in Portland Blue with the white cameo relief of Her Majesty The Queen by Arnold Machin which was the basis of the classic definitive portrait.

A Diamond Jubilee display will be launched in the Royal Mail Archive Search Room in May.

Pioneers of the Industrial Revolution

Pioneers of the Industrial Revolution

Pioneers of the Industrial Revolution

On 31st March graphic designer Brian Webb will be speaking at the BPMA about Royal Mail’s latest stamp issue Pioneers of the Industrial Revolution. Brian is the Director of Webb and Webb, who have designed these and many other stamps for Royal Mail.

Pioneers of the Industrial Revolution celebrates the work of eight individuals whose innovations and inventions changed society forever:

Brian Webb’s talk ties in with the development of a reconstructed Victorian Post Office at Blists Hill Victorian Village by the BPMA and the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust.

For further information on the talk Pioneers of the Industrial Revolution, and for booking details, please visit the event page.