Sunday, 23 June 2013

War and Peace

1969: Investiture of Charles, Prince of Wales

In the days before the bland design houses employed by Royal Mail, whose first thought seems to be to head for the photographic archives, these stamps were produced by the great stamp designer David Gentleman.  Caenarvan Castle's vast edifice stands at the mouth of the Seiont River in Wales and its bulk was intentional. Edward I in his conquest of Wales built a string of fortresses across the country, his idea at Caernarvan was to echo the walls of Constantinople and project imperial power. The stamps show, left to right, The King's Gate, The Eagle Tower (the first part of the castle to be built) and Queen Eleanor Gate.  Unusual for monarchs at the time Edward and Eleanor spent a lot of time together, Eleanor even accompanying him in his military campaigns.  Their son, the first Prince of Wales, was born here in 1284.
The other stamp of the set shows a Celtic cross from Mangam Abbey. I think this is the Cross of Conbelin an immerse stone cross wheel standing 8ft 6ins (2.61m)  with knot and plait work probably dating from 950-1050.  Mangam Abbey has a Stone Cross Museum of Roman and Celtic Crosses
The set completes with a portrait of Prince Charles who was at the centre of  his investiture as Prince of Wales by the Queen. The eyes do make him  look like one of those murderous and machinating princes of the medieval period.
This is a stamp from one of the 'Smilers' sheets which I think were a series covering all the countries of the United Kingdom's castles. The two I show are from the 'Castles of England' sheet. This one goes back to our last invasion, that of William the Conqueror who started this castle in 1068 and the present construction developed from that.
One of my particular favourites is Orford Castle in Suffolk where you can get marvellous view from the top as not only do you have the hight of the keep but also the hill it is built on.  All that is left today is the keep and some of the outer fortifications.. Built in the 12th Century by Henry II it too was built to consolidate royal power in the region. I happened to take a photo of it last time I was there here.
Enough of British castles here is the medieval Moorish Castle of Gibraltar which stands in a dominant and strategic position and played a part in the Arab conquest of the Iberian peninsula. Over time it has been destroyed and rebuilt.  Now lets turn to the quiet sanctuaries of monestries and abbeys in Austria
 Here are some of the series of 18 stamps showing Austrian abbeys and monasteries that Wolfgang Pfeiller engraved between 1984 and 1992. The stamps are quite small which makes the quality of the engraving all the more amazing. Until I scanned these at first glance I thought the stamp on the right showed sheep in the meadow and then in its larger form saw  they were in fact trees.  From a brief search I cannot find any information about Pfeiller apart from the fact he was  born in 1941 and produced a great many stamps for Austria.
 He shows beautifully the abbeys in theirsurroundings
 And the different colours are rather pleasing.

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps theme - Castles, Churches and Fortifications.


Lisa B said...

I hadn't seen the Celtic cross on the 9d, nor had I thought of Prince Charles' eyes like that ;).
The castles on the smilers sheet are nice, I haven't seen any of these, it's hard enough to get any kind of interesting stamp on mail these days, let alone these issues which are hard to find in post offices.

Bob Scotney said...

I particularly like the Warwick and the Orford stamps which I hadn't seen before.

agi said...

havent seen any of the royal mail stamps before, as wonderful as always

Hawwa said...

Great selection. I love the style of the three first stamps, how cool! And also the stamp from Gibraltar. They look very modern.

VioletSky said...

There is so much to see and read here! I agree the detailing in the small stamps is amazing, it is just a shame that so many people (who wouldn't bother magnifying the image) would miss out on it.

Maria Kristina Maano said...

Thank you Joy for posting more stamps w UK castles. I really loved my visit there last year, w the most memorable experiences at Warwick Castle & Nottingham Castle. There are still sooo much to see so I really wish I can go back there.

P.S. Thank you also for the info abt UK stamps that you shared on my Sunday Stamps post.

viridian said...

Sorry to be commenting late.
What a wonderful array of stamps.
thank you for participating.

♥♥ Willa ♥♥ said...

So many great stamps to share and my favorite is the one from gibraltar.

Willa @ Postage Journal:My Sunday Stamp

Ramakant Pradhan said...

Gorgeous collection! Thanks for sharing the information associated with each of them.