Hello everyone, or those of you still looking to see if I write anymore :-) Afraid I have been terribly delinquent due my work here in HK. I asked for guest writers and here is one piece from Jane in Canada - a regular reader and previous guest writer. An interesting piece which I hope you will enjoy as I did
Royal Mail’s first London 2010 Festival of Stamps issue is a double-headed Machin incorporating the Machin head of Elizabeth II and the Mackennal profile head of King George V. The profiles are identified by royal ciphers. Simplicity of style and brevity of detail combined with shrewd colour choice result in a memorable design.
I thought it would be interesting to see if I could find other stamps with two or more British monarchs on the same stamp. I wanted to see how different countries would interpret a similar topic. Would the end result be as eye catching and memorable as the new GB stamp? I found four stamps from various Commonwealth countries (the stamps were issued to celebrate various events over the eighty years) to examine.
Each stamp is unique, yet all portray easily recognizable images of British monarchs. Engraved images rather than painted portraits are more popular. Perhaps this is because the engraved image works so well on a tiny canvas.
Despite the attention given to detail, it is interesting to note that the question of identification is dealt with in different ways.
The stamp from St. Helena does not identify the four monarchs, but they are so obvious that it is not a problem (William IV to George V).
The stamp from Barbados is rather ambiguous because the portrait of Charles I is only identified with a date: 1639. The stamps from St. Vincent and New Zealand clearly identify each monarch.
The layout of the stamps ranges from deceptively simple to very complex. And yet, each one ends up looking very dated and ordinary. The choice of colours tends to lessen the impact of the stamps. There is too much detail to absorb. And the reason for illustrating multiple British monarchs on the stamps is unclear.
The examples that I found all illustrate multiple British monarchs. They attempt to convey a great deal of information in a compact space. Some are more successful than others, but none are particularly memorable stamps. None come close to the deceptively simple design of the new double-headed Machin. That is why it will be a winner.