Great Britain

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Jeff Dugdale  |  May 13, 2016  |  0 comments

Another successful approach to suggesting frenetic activity can be seen in a set of four stamps on the theme of racket sports.

None has more energy than the design showing squash, which would give even the uninitiated a good idea of what the sport is about.

Two silhouetted players are shown part-way through a rally, and stretching every sinew to win the point, with the route the ball has taken shown by a maze of sharply angled dotted lines.

Jeff Dugdale  |  May 13, 2016  |  0 comments

A set commemorating traditional seaside postcard artwork could never be anything other than light-hearted, and the top value is a real fun stamp.

Filling most of the frame is a portly middle-aged gent with a beer belly and a large backside, in the style of bathing suit which suggests he should really know better.

The expression on his face makes it clear that he has been caught out obtaining chocolate when he shouldn’t, and he seems to be on a roll, with bars simply tumbling out of the machine.

Jeff Dugdale  |  May 12, 2016  |  0 comments

Some of the most stunning stamps are the simplest, and here is a case in point.

It takes the classic image of a gas flame, very well known to millions of homes in the late 1970s, and places it on the calm surface of a stylised North Sea.

Beneath the surface lie the strata of sediment which contain the crude oil from which the gas will be refined.

Jeff Dugdale  |  May 12, 2016  |  0 comments

One of a set of four marking the anniversaries of various sporting bodies, this stamp takes an original approach to the problem of suggesting power and motion, the sine qua non of sporting issues.

In glorious colour, redolent of a British summer, it depicts an anonymous female tennis player about to play a backhand shot on a cinder court.

With racket at shoulder height, and the impression of tensions in her legs and body, the energy of her movement is further suggested by a swirling background.

Julia Lee  |  May 11, 2016  |  0 comments

In the first of the Millennium series, the highest value took as its subject the development of computers, commemorating in particular the work of Alan Turing.

A cross-section of a human head has various pieces of computing hardware laid out as if inside a machine, reminding us that the brain itself is a very complex computer, which it had to be to invent the computer! Design: Sir Eduardo Paolozzi.

Printing: offset lithography by De La Rue.

Jeff Dugdale  |  Nov 06, 2021  |  0 comments

This wonder of elegance was the fifth essay produced by the designer to this particular remit, but it was well worth waiting for.

With its narrow frame and bevelled border, the high-value from the Royal Silver Wedding set of two is a stunningly handsome stamp.

A bold but distinguished design, based on a regal photograph by Dorothy Wilding, it resembles the photo-portraits of the King and Queen that many British families had on the walls of their lounges during the war years, in order to assert their national pride and keep up their spirits.

Jeff Dugdale  |  May 10, 2016  |  0 comments

An eye-catching set used helping hands to convey the ethos of the National Health Service on its 50th anniversary.

Other designs showed hands forming a heart, taking a pulse and reassuring a child, all realised simply in sepia and white.

But the 43p is most emotive, as the hands form a cradle which suggests care and protection.

Jeff Dugdale  |  May 10, 2016  |  0 comments

Organised only half a dozen years after the end of World War II, the Festival of Britain was intended to mark the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851, but also a dawning optimism about the country’s future as it struggled to recover from the ravages of war.

Pavilions were erected along the South Bank of the Thames to put the whole country on show to the world, and two stamps were issued.

The higher value has the official logo of the Festival, comprising a compass rose with a stylised Britannia’s head, adorned with bunting in the form of suspended flags and a string of pennants.

Jeff Dugdale  |  May 09, 2016  |  0 comments

This is a stunning image, apparently bisected diagonally with half of the pictured crop harvested and the combine harvester centred perfectly.

But there’s a remarkable utility behind it too.

An orbiting satellite produced the awesome, golden image, and this ‘remote sensing technology’ helps modern farmers to learn how productive different parts of their land are, so they can respond with appropriate use of chemicals, keeping their approach as environmentally friendly as possible.

Julia Lee  |  May 08, 2016  |  0 comments

This beautiful stamp for European Music Year celebrates one of the greatest pieces of British music, Gustav Holst’s seven-part orchestral Planets Suite, by trying to capture the beauty of the heavens.

Like the music, the design has real depth.

In the centre are Jupiter, the unmistakable ringed Saturn and the small red orb of Mars.

Jeff Dugdale  |  May 07, 2016  |  0 comments

This oblong format was in vogue early in the 21st century, and proved particularly appropriate for the set issued to mark Manchester’s hosting of the 17th Commonwealth Games in 2002.

Its success lies in the way it provides extra scope for evoking a sense of speed in each of the five events illustrated.

On the athletics stamp we see three slightly burred female sprinters heading for the finish line.

Jeff Dugdale  |  May 06, 2016  |  0 comments

Whilst other postal authorities cashed in on the series of feature films, Royal Mail came up with something much more tasteful to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of the first two novels in J R R Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Its stamps were created from original designs by the revered author himself, and his son Christopher.

Every one of the 10 designs is a treasure, but the loveliest is that showing Rivendell, the serene Elven outpost in Middle Earth.

Jeff Dugdale  |  May 05, 2016  |  0 comments

The 250th anniversary of the British Museum was celebrated by a striking set of five amazing photographs of statues or masks, all with one eye staring starkly out from a shadowy background.

Most menacingly, the 47p value has the 600-year-old Mixtec-Aztec regalia mask of Xiuhtecuhtli, the Mexican firegod.

The shining turquoise of its mosaic pattern makes it visually stunning, and the white eye and teeth contrast with this to complete a face you won’t forget in a hurry.

Julia Lee  |  May 04, 2016  |  0 comments

There is no doubting which was the most arresting stamp in the set of five commemorating 50 years of passenger jet aviation.

A beautifully lit photo-essay features the ‘face’ of a contemporary Airbus A340-600, staring back at the viewer like some benevolent monster.

The bulk of the aircraft, which can carry almost 400 people, is not illustrated but is clearly suggested by its massive head, standing out magnificently against an indigo clear sky.

Jeff Dugdale  |  May 03, 2016  |  0 comments

Like No50 in our countdown, this stamp was issued as a result of a competition run by television’s Blue Peter programme.

But in this case the design brief was much more complicated: children were asked for ideas with an environmental message.

Alice Newton-Mold, aged 12, painted the Bird of Hope, ingeniously showing shining modern homes and green trees apparently being regenerated from grey industrial wasteland as the bird flies over them.