Julia Lee

Julia Lee  |  Mar 15, 2016  |  0 comments

One of the most stunning Christmas sets was based on illuminated letters from the Acts of Mary & Joseph, a medieval Italian manuscript housed in Oxford University’s Bodleian Library.

The 24p value shows the Virgin Mary looking at the baby Jesus, who has a startlingly adult face, lying in a stall in the manager with a humble beast of the field looking on through the open window.

The golden and red tones of the stamp, and the oak leaf border of the letter ‘M’ (for Maria), make this an appropriately rich and beautiful philatelic essay.

Julia Lee  |  Mar 15, 2016  |  0 comments

Many modern British stamps have been criticised for being essentially a photograph with the Queen’s head and inscription added, and that’s just what this one is.

But what a stunner! A single specimen of autumn crocus is lit classically against a black background, highlighting the stem and flower’s varying hues of light green, purple, puce and white.

The colours combine with the angle of the petals to the lens, suggesting a raised hand, to make this a breathtaking composition.

Julia Lee  |  Mar 15, 2016  |  0 comments

So many stamps were produced in the Millennium series of 1999-2000 that collectors were overwhelmed – and perhaps irritated.

As a result, some wonderful designs have gone largely ignored.

The dominant stamp in the military set, entitled The Soldiers’ Tale, was the 19p depicting Robert the Bruce, but the striking 26p devoted to the English Civil War is a hidden gem, requiring more careful study to appreciate its intricacies.

Julia Lee  |  Mar 04, 2016  |  0 comments

Fittingly, in a set which was issued expressly to mark the 50th anniversary of the National Trust for Scotland, the most evocative design is one of the two showing Scottish views.

Capturing the sunlight streaming down onto Loch Shiel, it highlights the desolate beauty of Glenfinnan, and the 60ft monument of a clansman which was raised in 1815 by Alexander MacDonald of Glenaladale to commemorate the start of the fateful last Jacobite rising in 1745.

For Scots, this is an emotive location.

Julia Lee  |  Mar 04, 2016  |  0 comments

Industry Year was a campaign by the RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce) to promote and explain industry to the community.

Of the four stamps with a similar design concept, it’s the 34p that catches the eye.

It stars a mouth-watering loaf of crusty bread, well lit against a background of a vast field of corn, under blue skies.

Julia Lee  |  Mar 04, 2016  |  0 comments

The 1980 set was among the most elegant of all Christmas issues, and the star of the group of five was the highest value, depicting a display of satin brocade and shining pendants with holly.

The arc of decorated foliage and the complete symmetry of the design suggest security and a welcoming door, beyond which are to be found many treats of the traditional British festive season.

With its deceptively simple design of green and red on white, this stamp epitomises Christmas, and has a very large ‘wow factor’.

Julia Lee  |  Mar 04, 2016  |  0 comments

Available from counter sheets and miniature sheets, this set celebrating the 150th anniversary of the double-decker looks most striking in the former guise.

That’s because it comes in a se-tenant strip of five illustrating 16 buses, parked in a row as if lined up in a bus garage.

But of course you wouldn’t get so much historical variety in any normal bus garage.

Julia Lee  |  Mar 04, 2016  |  0 comments

One of David Gentleman’s best pieces of design was the set of four honouring champions of reform in the spheres of factory exploitation, child labour, trade unionism and prison conditions.

Dark-hued and bleak, and cleverly showing hands set in very adverse situations, each stamp sums up in an instant what the problem was.

The 11p value highlights the cruel Victorian use of child chimney sweeps, evoking the soot-polluted environment of narrow, jagged, crumbling brickwork through which small boys were forced to crawl.

Julia Lee  |  Sep 09, 2014  |  0 comments

Royal Mail’s Seaside Architecture stamp issue, to be released on September 18, celebrates the infrastructure that makes the uniquely British seaside holiday possible.

Six stamps from counter sheets feature piers, lidos, bandstands and shelters from around the UK’s most popular resort towns, aiming to illustrate a wide range of architectural styles from their heydays.

An accompanying four-stamp miniature sheet concentrates on the theme of piers, showing four from the Victorian era.

Julia Lee  |  Jul 28, 2014  |  0 comments

Royal Mail starts a five-part annual series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War on July 28, with a set of six stamps linked to the first year of the conflict, 1914.

Further appropriate issues will follow in 2015-18 inclusive.

If the set looks incoherent at first glance, Royal Mail has made it clear there is a carefully planned rationale behind it.

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