Sunday, 11 January 2015

Print It

There are four famous people all on the same envelope for this week's theme but lets starts with the main man, Thomas De La Rue, a name synonymous with the security printing of stamps and banknotes.  Born in Guernsey his first commercial venture was in 1813 when he published the first edition of Le Miroir Politique newspaper on the island then, some years later, in 1821 he moved to London with his printing business and produced playing cards, which I guess would have some security printing issues as at that time they were taxed; the Ace of Spades usually the chosen card to show the tax (which was abolished in 1960).  In 1855 De La Rue started to print postage stamps and Guernsey Post show some of these.  I don't know the reasoning behind the stamps they have chosen for the issue, it is also possible they were all engraved by Ferdinand Joubert (two definitely are), but lets take a look at the top row -
Queen Victoria makes two appearances, first on the 2p showing the Hong Kong two cents stamp, the first stamp issued there in 1862,  The next is the one the envelope also features, the GB four penny carmine issued in 1855 which must be the first stamp the company printed.
Bottom row shows the President of the Confederate States during the American Civil War, Jefferson Davis.  This was a stamp of 1862 which De La Rue shipped out to the Confederacy together with plates and white printing paper,   Next the 4p stamp shows Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, a stamp produced in 1863.

Although I only possess two of the set, (Maxim Gorky and Pablo Picasso) the following are amongst my favourite stamps
1968: UNESCO Cultural Personality's of the 20th Century"
showing caricatures of famous cultural personalities drawn by Adolph Hoffmeister (1902-1973) who it is said met, and drew, most of the famous 20th century Europeans.  Hoffmeister was one of those multi talented individuals who could do everything, poet, novelist, translator, editor and of course artist.  He edited one of the main Czech newspapers but also set up an anti fascist magazine in the 1930s which the Nazi's banned. Escaping from an internment camp during WW2  he arrived in New York in 1941 via Morocco, Lisbon and Havana. Returning to Czechoslovakia in 1945 although a leftist, he eventually fell foul of the communist regime and after 1968 became a "non person".
1989: Bicentenary of the French Revolution
Lastly in this sad week for France I thought this stamp of Jean-Paul Marat, radical journalist, politician during the French Revolution and advocate of the basic human rights for all would be appropriate - lets hope that wickedness will end and there is Liberty, Fraternity and Equality for all people.

An entry to the Sunday Stamp theme of Famous People/Portraits hosted by Violet Sky here     


Bob Scotney said...

Great post, Joy especially the Czech stamps. I can only echo your thoughts on France,

Eva A. said...

I find the caricatures very original.

Lisa B said...

I have heard of De La Rue in regard to stamp printing. I hadn't seen the Gorky or Picasso stamps before.

VioletSky said...

I have learned a lot from your post this week!! I'm almost ashamed to admit I had never heard of La Rue until now.