Sunday, March 16, 2008

The first stamps of George VI

Bought during my journey to London, at Vera Trinder, here is a short but richly illustrated book about the design of the six first stamps of the reign of King George VI.

In Great Britain King George VI Low Value Definitive Stamps, Peter Worsfold told the genesis of these stamps from Edward VIII's abdication till February 1937. A very short time, but creatively dense, a shortness that was justified by the crowing date maintained in May 1937. The illustration is aboundant and the letters were retrieved in the British postal archives. Many projects are reproduced in black and white.

I will summarize the whole with two main points. First, the ornament was wished by George VI to be less severe than the one of the Edward VIII stamps issued some weeks earlier. Artists competed even if the four floral emblems of the Countries of the United Kingdom were omnipresent.

Then, the problem was the portrait. Until Edmund Dulac intervened early February, essays were printed using a photograph by Bertram Park and the profil for coinage by Paget. Author Peter Worsfold and Dulac's biographer, Colin White, were enthusiastic about the Dulac head. White wrote that Dulac "gave the King the classical features of a young Greek hero!"

This 2001 book - a pleasure to read - is available at the publisher, the Great Britain Philatelic Society, whom will be quoted again about an other of my recent acquisitions.

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