Sunday, 16 June 2019

Join the Queue

2018: 250 Years of the Royal Academy of Arts
'Queuing at the Royal Academy of Arts' by Yinka Shonibara whose artworks feature beautiful brightly coloured fabrics and patterns that explore the issues of race, class and culture.  Royal Mail commissioned six Royal Academicians to design a stamp portraying the popular annual RA Summer Exhibition and Yinka Shonibara created this queue in the Burlington House courtyard waiting to enter. It's England so of course it is raining.  For postal lovers Burlington House also has a rather flash wooden postbox in the porch of the entrance but stamps must be bought elsewhere
1990: 150th Anniversary of the Postage Stamp
and there may be a queue but not as long as this one outside the Main Post Office in Guernsey in 1969 when the first stamps of an independent postal administration were issued.  The stamp on the stamp shows the heads of both Queen Elizabeth I and II but a monarch goes walkabout
1997: 25th Anniversary of the Reign of Queen Margrethe II
here where the people have been queuing to welcome Queen Margrethe of Denmark
2018: Europa - Bridges (Design (V Beltyukov)
For a queue with a view head for the Floating Bridge over the Moskva River.

Kidderminster Rail Ticket Office

Sunday Stamps prompt this week is the Letter Q - here for a quartet of Queues and three queens - See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Polish Workers

1968: 5th Polish United Workers Party Conference, Warsaw (Design - F Winiarski)
The Proletarians sit for their portrait looking quite relaxed in this painting by Felicjan Szczesny-Kowarski(1890-1948) which must have been one of his last works because it is dated 1948.
If you form a political movement then a manifesto is required and here indeed is 'The Manifesto' by Wojciech Weiss (1875-1950) considered the most important of early 20th Century Polish artists, this too was one of his last paintings (1950).  As you can see this stamp is not in the best of conditions but no matter for
1968: Polish Paintings (Design - A Heidricht)
the same year his painting made another appearance in a set dedicated to Polish paintings. This stamp was printed photogravure whereas the others are offset on chalk paper. You decide which is preferred.
Here we have Strike by Stanislaw Lentz portraying the revolutionary events of 1905. Lentz was fascinated by the labour movement and portraits of it became his key subject from 1900-1915, 'Strike' was painted in 1910. He was influenced by the Dutch tradition of collective portraits and nothing in the painting distracts the viewer from observing the emotions shown. I like the font on these stamps, the PZPR (Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza) is the Polish United Worker's Party.  V zjazd is of course 5th meeting. You've got to love a language that uses a lot of Zs.  All the paintings can be seen in the National Museum in Warsaw
1988: 40th PZPR Anniversary (Design - J Wysocki)
Stamps for the Polish Worker's Party were a regular occurrence and they are nicely varied in subject matter but this is the only other one I have.
1921: Peace Treaty with Russia (Design - B Wisniewski)
Until the later part of the 18th century the Kingdom of Poland was one of the largest in Europe but was conquered and partitioned between Prussia, Austria and Russia.  Poland ceased to exist as an independent country and of course this led to revolutionary events such as that portrayed in 'Strike'. The Russians poured troops into the area to regain control but those turbulent years for Europe eventually ended and stamps of Poland re-appeared in 1918, the peace treaty with Russia celebrated on the above stamps with a sower and a rainbow of hope.
1922: Silesia Plebiscite Issue
Another worker but this time a miner from the mineral rich area of Silesia, I like the Arts and Crafts vibe of this stamp but possibly a world away from reality of mining life. Maybe he is off to vote. The plebiscite of 1921 was for the 1.2 Million citizens of Upper and Lower Silesia to vote whether to join Poland or Germany.  It was policed by French, British and Italian troops and although there was violence and unrest the vote itself was peaceful.  The vote divided on ethnic lines for Germany in the west and Poland in the east and it was indecisive. A wry smile by me as we are living through a divisive vote in the UK at the moment however unlike here there was decisive action in Silesia by the Inter-Allied Control Commission and the League of Nations who divided the country between upper and lower Silesia between Germany and Poland, a compromise. Things didn't end there for there was still unrest but after World War 2 Upper Silesia was ceded to Poland.  Linn's Stamps News have a fascinating and snappy overview of those turbulent years here and they suggest the plebiscite issues make an interesting collection, pity I only have one lone stamp.

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter P - here for Poland, PZPR, Paintings, Proletarians and Plebiscite - See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Osterreich in Outer Space

1982: UN Space Conference in Vienna (Design - Otto Zeiller)
Austria and outer space is something which does not immediately spring to my mind however I would be wrong as  it turns out they have been involved in space research since the 1950s and are members of the European Space Agency.
Austria chaired the UN Committee of Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) from 1957-1996 and in 1982 issued this stamp to commemorate UNISPACE II - the UN Conference on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space held in Vienna.
1978: (Definitive Series 1973-83): Beautiful Austria (Design - Otto Zeiller; Engraver - W Pfeiler)
Before setting off into outer space on top of highly inflammable fuel perhaps one might take time out to offer a prayer of safe return here in Oberwart which as that beautiful handwriting says is located in Burgenland (South East Austria).  The stamp shows the old parish church rebuilt in 1463 and the new parish church built in the 1960s.  I would take bets that the old church will outlast the modern.  You might have noticed that Otto Zeiller (1913-1988) has designed both of these stamps and of course the rest of the 'Beautiful Austria' issue.
1978: Modern Art in Austria (Design - Rudolf Hausner)
Who might we encounter in outer space?  This is Adam who Rudolf Hausner (1914-1995) depicted repeatedly over the decades subtly changing and based on his own image.  No wonder when they held a retrospective exhibition of his works it was called 'Ruldolf Hauser - it's me'.  My thoughts on when seeing this stamp for the first time and observing the hat was linking it in my head with Guinan, the quirky and wise alien played by Whoopi Goldberg in Star Trek.  Hausner has been called a "painter of the landscapes of the soul" and his style can't be classified although people try, calling it fantastic realism and him a psychic realist.  The Nazi's had other views and designated him a degenerate artist during World War 2.
1919: For Express (Design - Alfred Cossmann)
Mercury doesn't need fuel or rockets to race around the world just wings on his hat and feet.  This stamp is for express delivery use and is the second issue which was overprinted 'Deutschösterreich' - German-Austria; a political desire of unification by Austria at that time as it emerged battered and without an empire at the end of the first world war.

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter O - here for  Österreich, Outer Space, Oberwart and Otto - See It On A Postcard     

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Norwegian Postal Journeys

1996: Norway Post's 350th Anniversary - NORWEX 97 (Design - Sverre Morken)
Norway's postal services were celebrated in this set of stamps and they start with a post peasant (postbonde) setting out across a snowy expanse in 1647, possibly a more comfortable journey was to be had in the early 20th century in the fjord boat Framnaes which carried post, passengers and cargo.
A full load setting off, or arriving, in this truck of 1920.  The coastal air routes from Bergen to Tromsø were served by a Junkers Ju 52/3m seaplane operated by DNL in the 1930s. The aircraft took its name from the companies bird logo - The Tern (Ternen) but it soon became obvious that a small plane could not cope with the demand, there is certainly more
mail going by rail here in 1950.  Travelling the last miles is the rural postman delivering the mail in 1970.
No decorative pot plant in my local post office but they are selling bedding plants at the moment and so I queued up in-between people holding both post and plants this week.  Lastly a stamp described as electronic mail which I guess could be digital stamps.  The stamps were also issued in a special booklet in anticipation of NORWEX 97 held in Oslo whose linked theme was postal history and aerophilately.

The Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter N - here for Norway and NORWEX - See It On A Postcard


Sunday, 19 May 2019

Mythical Moose

Skutt the Moose has carried the Princess Tuvstarr here and now he watches over her, the caption on the reverse of the card says "Now the dusk of the night is already upon us".  The scene is from the story 'Princess Tuvstarr and the Fishpond'.
1982: John Bauer (Engraver - Czeslaw Slania)
The illustrator and the booklet of stamps issued in his memory is the Swedish painter of nature and mythology John Bauer (1882-1918).  The postmark shows Princess Tuvstarr's long wavy hair.  Her name translates as Princess Cottongrass and the story can be found here.  I know cotton grass by its other name, Bog Cotton, and just a few days ago as I wandered through the nearby mosses their dazzling white fluffy heads were growing in profusion in that watery place. I always love to stroke their soft heads but after reading the tale of the Princess and the fishpond I will think of her story while doing so.
1992: Wild Animals (Illustrator - Staffan Ullsataröm; Engraver - Lars Sjööblom)
 As can be seen on the stamp Europeans tend to call these magnificent animals elks (which would be no use whatsoever for this week's letter), but happily in North America
1953: National Wildlife Week (Design - Emanuel Otto Hahn; Engraver - Silas Robert Allen)
they are Moose although I tend to call them moose anyway, maybe it is the influence of watching the squirrel/moose duo of the cartoon series Rocky and Bullwinkle as a child.  I love the beady eye of this Canadian moose on the stamp.  Moose love to wander and eat but highways and mammals don't mix so if in moose country take care.
1997: Greetings Stamps VI (Design - Gustav Malmfors)
A 'fancy elk' warning sign is part of  a Swedish set of 6 stamps
which were issued in the shape of a hexagon. On the left is the yellow Swedish road sign. The postally used stamps are usually seen as ones or two together depending on letter (brev) cost. The red elk is an ancient Nordic elk and a Forest Elk moves across a green background.
Instead of DNA this moose has a barcode (the Swedes call them line codes) I love the detail of the numbers on the bottom but I don't think we will be scanning this through the supermarket tills. Lastly we have a Swedish elk using the blue and yellow of their flag.
Bullwinkle J Moose

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter M - here for Myth, Moose and mammal - move over for more at See It On A Postcard



Sunday, 12 May 2019


2002: Visit Austria (Design - Adolf (Adi) Tuma)
A warm glow in a winding alleyway called Schönlaaterngasse (Beautiful Lantern Alley) in central Vienna. The beautiful lantern in question is outside number 7 but the original wrought iron creation  is in Vienna's City Museum and only a copy shines here. The Schönlaterngasse has appeared 4 times on Austria's stamps and also more excitingly for me in Carol Reed's movie The Third Man.  Shadowy people and places filmed in 1948 on location in a postwar Vienna.  Today there is a Third Man walking tour, I imagine the catchy zither sound track running for ever in my head during that, and yes the tour includes the sewers.
1979: 300th Anniversary of Street Lighting (Design - Finke)
Meanwhile in Berlin more than half the world's existing gas lights illuminate the streets and the stamp's Gas Lamp is in the Kruezberg District but since 2013 they are being demolished and only 3,200 out of 37,000 will be preserved although there is a residents action to try to save them.
1996: Images of Germany (Design - Schillinger)
I imagine this chandelier type lamp is also gas lit and shines on what is considered one of Berlin's most beautiful squares, Gendarmennmarkt.
1948: Airmail - Explorers and Inventors (Design - Légrády Sándor)
Of course Thomas Edison would definitely be for electric lights.  A motion picture is beaming out in the background and happily giving me another 'L' by showing a view of the Statue of Liberty.
2004: Bordeaux (Design - Claude Andreotto; Engraving - Claude Jumelet)
Here the lights are on the Pont de Pierre which crosses the Gironde River at Bordeaux. Planned and designed on the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte (although only eventually competed in 1822) its 17 arches are said to be for the number of letters in his name.  Although the stamp seems to show the tram on another bridge it actually runs over the Pont de Pierre but the condition of the bridge means that all traffic has been banned since 2016 with the exception of pedestrians, cyclists and the tram-line. 
1981: Huis ten Bosch
Lastly lamplight leads us here to the 17th Century Royal Palace in The Hague,  one of three official residencies of the Dutch royal family and since 1984 the Dutch monarchs office for political and state affairs.
Ammonite Lamp Post at Dusk, Lyme Regis (Jurassic Coast)

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter L - here for Lamps, lamplight and liberty -  lots more at See It On A Postcard


Sunday, 5 May 2019

Keep On Riding

1979: Horse-riding (people of the Kuguryo Dynasty)
These North Korean stamps were originally issued as part of a miniature sheet (I only have 3) but rather than the prosaic title from my Gibbons, as captioned above, the sheet has the words "Koguryo People who Enjoyed Riding", well they had plenty of room to do just that.  The Kuguryo dynasty lasted from approximately 37BC until 668AD and their tombs contain frescoes of everyday life and mythical creatures. The stamps are re-creation of the horses and events that appear on the frescoes
The Koguryo ruled a vast area

and were the largest of the 3 kingdoms of the area from which we get the name of the present country, Korea.

More people who enjoy riding are those in

1996: Olympic Games, Atlanta, USA (Design - German Komlev)
Kyrgyzstan who combine their ancient sports with those of the modern Olympics in these stamps
That horse symbol says to me 'fast as the wind' but everyone needs some chill out time
1995: Horses (Design - A Iskakov)
like this chestnut mare and foal.

Koguryo Tomb Mural

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter K - here for Korea, Koguryo and Kyrgyzstan - See It On A Postcard