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Guy Thomas  |  Sep 01, 2016  |  0 comments

The 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London will be commemorated by an issue of six stamps on September 2.

The fire broke out in bakery of Thomas Farriner in Pudding Lane in the early hours of Sunday September 2, 1666.

For three days it spread through the city, helped by the close-packed wooden houses, thatched roofs, stored materials such as pitch and tar, and a strong westerly wind.

Guy Thomas  |  Aug 11, 2016  |  0 comments

The Landscape Gardens set, to be issued by Royal Mail on August 16, marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (c1716-1783), who is renowned as ‘England’s greatest gardener’, or more properly Britain’s greatest landscape architect.

In designing more than 170 parks and gardens (and in some cases houses), Brown changed the face of 18th-century England, establishing a new breed of country estate which was ‘naturalistic’, carefully landscaped without being formally patterned.

He not only planted shrubs and trees but also moved hills, and dammed rivers to fabricate lakes in strategic places.

Guy Thomas  |  Jul 20, 2016  |  0 comments

The 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter will be commemorated on July 28 with a total of 10 stamps illustrating many of the timeless characters she created.

A set of six portray the leading characters in six of her most popular books, while a four-stamp miniature sheet features scenes from The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Both a storyteller and an artist, Potter (1866-1943) made her name with a series of children’s tales featuring anthropomorphic animals, starting with The Tale of Peter Rabbit, published in 1902.

Guy Thomas  |  Jul 06, 2016  |  0 comments

Royal Mail will issue a set of 10 stamps on July 7 to celebrate one of the most influential British rock bands of all time, Pink Floyd.

Six self-adhesive stamps reproduce iconic record sleeve designs, in the same freeform style as the 2010 Classic Album Covers set (which included a different Pink Floyd album).

A Pink Floyd Live miniature sheet of four further designs is based on photographs from stage performances, taken over four different decades.

Guy Thomas  |  Jun 21, 2016  |  0 comments

The third issue in Royal Mail’s series commemorating the First World War, issued on June 21, focuses on the year 1916, with another eclectic and poignant selection of images.

As in the first two issues, the year is explored though a stamp covering each of six key themes: poppies, poetry, portraits, art, memorials and artefacts.

This year there is an additional miniature sheet, specifically devoted to the impact of the war on postal services.

Guy Thomas  |  May 10, 2016  |  0 comments

On May 17 Royal Mail will issue a self-adhesive miniature sheet of six colourful free-form stamps unashamedly aimed at children, although they might also appeal to adults with a sense of fun who want to brighten up letters and greetings cards.

Entitled Animail, it will feature six endearing animal characters, with each stamp designed to wrap around the outside edges of an envelope or postcard, as if the creature is clinging on to the top or side.

Thin white lines across each design suggest the place in which it is meant to be folded.

Guy Thomas  |  Apr 20, 2016  |  0 comments

Royal Mail will release a set of six stamps and a special four-stamp miniature sheet on April 21 to celebrate the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s oldest reigning monarch.

The stamps from counter sheets, which come in se-tenant strips of three, comprise three black and white images focusing on her family life, and three colour images honouring her official work on behalf the country over the decades.

Designed by Kate Stephens, the set was printed in litho by International Security Printers.

Guy Thomas  |  Apr 04, 2016  |  0 comments

Royal Mail will issue a set of 10 1st class stamps on April 5 to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, the most published and most performed dramatist in history.

The designs pay tribute to the genius of ‘the immortal bard’ by reproducing famous quotes from eight of his plays and two of his poems, in a variety of typefaces and styles.

Designed by The Chase, the stamps are printed in litho by International Security Printers, in se-tenant strips of five.

Guy Thomas  |  Mar 14, 2016  |  0 comments

The British Humanitarians issue on March 15 will commemorate the lives and achievements of six individuals who devoted their energies to helping and protecting other people, both in the UK and abroad.

The three men and three women, active in the 19th and 20th centuries, shared an innate concern for their fellow human beings struggling against illness, poverty, violence or hypocrisy, and a single-minded desire to help them in practical ways.

Unusually, the issue appears to be an example of people power heavily influencing Royal Mail’s stamp programme.

Guy Thomas  |  Feb 10, 2016  |  0 comments

Royal Mail’s 2016 celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of operating an organised postal service will get underway with a stamp issue on February 17.

Entitled Royal Mail 500, the issue comprises a set of six individual stamps giving a flavour of how a formal postal network was established and expanded, plus a four-stamp Classic GPO Posters miniature sheet reproducing advertising posters of the mid-20th century.

Royal Mail says it has chosen to celebrate its big anniversary this year because the importance of the office of Master of the Posts was recognised when its first holder, Brian Tuke, was knighted by King Henry VIII in 1516.

Guy Thomas  |  Jan 06, 2016  |  0 comments

Royal Mail’s first new issue of 2016, released on January 7, commemorates what Sir Edmund Hillary described as ‘The greatest survival story of all time’.

Entitled Shackleton & The Endurance Expedition, the eight-stamp set recalls the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1914-17, which is regarded as the last expedition of the heroic age of polar exploration.

As an attempt to make the first land crossing of Antarctica via the South Pole, it was a dismal failure.

Guy Thomas  |  Nov 02, 2015  |  0 comments

Royal Mail’s 2015 Christmas stamps, issued on November 3, feature paintings which tell the traditional biblical story in an impressionistic style, from the Annunciation through to the Nativity and the journey of the Magi.

The 50th set of Christmas stamps (with one having been issued every year since 1966), they follow the recent policy of alternating between secular with religious designs.

As usual, the issue comprises self-adhesive counter sheet and booklet stamps, and the same designs in a gummed miniature sheet.

Guy Thomas  |  Oct 07, 2015  |  0 comments

Royal Mail will issue a set of 12 counter sheet stamps and a six-stamp miniature sheet on October 20 to celebrate the upcoming release of the new movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Printed in se-tenant strips of six, the gummed sheet stamps will depict nine classic characters from the earlier films in the series, along with three new characters from the forthcoming instalment, which is due to open in UK cinemas on December 17.

Illustrated by British artist Malcolm Tween, each stamp will also feature a secondary character or scene created specially for the issue.

Guy Thomas  |  Sep 16, 2015  |  0 comments

Royal Mail will issue a set of stamps celebrating the 8th Rugby World Cup on September 18, the day England face Fiji in the opening game of the tournament.

Wales, Scotland and Ireland are also among the 20 competing nations, in a competition which will comprise 48 matches played at 13 different venues (10 around England plus the Millennium Stadium in Wales), culminating in a final at Twickenham in London on October 31.

The eight 1st class stamps, available in four se-tenant pairs, convey the power and dynamism of rugby union in the context of the sport’s scoring moves and set pieces.

Guy Thomas  |  Sep 09, 2015  |  0 comments

Royal Mail issued a five-stamp miniature sheet entitled Long To Reign Over Us on September 9, the day Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch in British history, surpassing Queen Victoria’s reign of 63 years and 216 days.

One of the stamps is the new-coloured 1st class Machin definitive (October issue, page 22), and the miniature sheet is the only source of this design in gummed form.

The other four are larger-format commemoratives featuring royal portraiture and insignia.