Sunday, 16 September 2018

Eire in Europe

1995: Europa - Peace and Freedom (Designer - Robert Ballagh)
The theme for the 1995 Europa stamps was Peace and Freedom and the Irish artist and designer chosen for this set was Robert Ballagh, a prolific stamp designer for decades and a fun fact for the dance enthusiast, he was the set designer for Riverdance.  He has a rather nice website that showcases his work here.  I noticed Ireland's An Post had a postcard booklet of some of his designs

my finger was hovering over the 'buy' button. I love the cover and wonder where that road might take us
1999: Europa - Parks and Gardens (Design F O'Connor)
perhaps to the west of Ireland and Kilcolman Nature Reserve in County Cork often referred to as Kilcolman Bog but it actually is a rare example of a limestone fen and a wintering ground for many water birds.  If wanting a trip to combine town and green spaces then head for the 1,750 acre Phoenix Park in Dublin
1998: Europa - Festivals (J Dunne)
If it is August then the Gathering of the Boats at Kinvara in Galway Bay is quite a sight or head for the stunningly beautiful County Kerry and the Puck Fair whose origin is lost in antiquity. It lasts for three days and a goat is caught in the mountains and brought into town where a school girl who has been crowned queen for the festival will crown him King Puck. The goat will be fed and watered, looked after by a vet and then at the end of the festivities released back into the mountains. I'm hoping it looks on it as a little holiday.  There is no goat trade union so I don't know its rights 
1996: Europa - Famous Women (Design - S Young)
but Louise Bennet fighter for women's emancipation and trade union rights would be the person to set one up. After all this activity maybe it is time to visit the Abbey Theatre one of whose founders was Lady Augusta Gregory opening its doors in 1904 with one act plays by her, WB Yeats and JM Synge the Irish National Theatre was born.
Aughrim Post Office and An Post van, County Wicklow



This week's Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter E -  for Eire, Europa and emancipation - See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Danish Dining

2016: Nordic Food Culture (Designer - Jakob Monefeldt)
The Nordic countries stamp theme in 2016 was food culture and  Denmark chose two of their fish specialties.  I wonder if these open faced sandwiches are the sort of things to be eaten near a fish quay?
The stamp on the left shows Sol over Gudhjem (sunshine over Gudhjem) consisting of smoked herring, a raw egg yoke, chives and rye bread.   The dish originated on the Island of Bornholm (known as the Sunshine Island) and the newspaper shown in the background includes a description of this lunch dish in Danish and in the island's local dialect.  A plaice appears on the stamp on the right - the dish Stjerneskud translates as  shooting star.  Some of the ingredients are drawn on the stamp but the menu lists them all. I wonder if it is like pizza options when one can pick and choose 
1992: The National Museum (Design - Carl Van Petersen; Engraver - Arne Kühlmann)
Lets imagine this bowl contains the vegetarian option of our dinner.  The PHQ card shows an earthenware bowl dated about 3200 BC from Skarpsalling (Jutland).  The ornate Skarpsalling bowl which I imagine is a national treasure also features on the Danish 50 krone note.
The prepaid card has a rather nice spiral cancel echoing the ancient decorative nature of the bowl. 
1980: Old Applied 19th Century Art (Design - Achton Friis; Engraver - Arne Kühlmann)
Ready for something to drink?  How about some foaming beer from a silver tankard or possibly the Bishop's bowl might be more interesting because it is a faience punch bowl shaped in the form of a mitre. The alcoholic drink served from the bowl was know as 'bishop' after the purple of bishops robes.   The mix was red wine, orange and sugar. Rum was sometimes added for taste and a preserver.  My observation of alcoholic punch is that 1) can be quite lethal and 2) no need of a preserver as there is never any left
Afternoon Picnic by the Danish artist Harald Slott Møller


The Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter D - for Denmark, dining and dish - dash over to - See It On A Postcard
   

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Cuba and Costumes

1990: Latin American History - Flags and Traditional Costume
These two look as though they are just waiting for the music to start before shaking their ruffles.  Lets C some more Latin American countries featured on Cuban stamps.
These look more like practical clothes.  I think the poncho type top is Chilean chamanto and both men and women wear them but it seems only the man gets to wear a hat
whereas Columbia is an equal opportunities place in the hat stakes.
Costa Rica is made up of seven provinces and each has its unique variation of the traditional costume. Of course one must not forget sporting costumes
2003: Baseball World Cup
and the nifty baseball outfit.  The stamp features Lourdes Gurriel, baseball legend, who had an amazingly long career as a player and after retirement managed and coached.  The Gurriel baseball genes are very strong for both his sons are talented baseball players; Yuli plays for the Houston Astros and Lourdes Gurrel Jr plays for the Toronto Blue Jays which I'm going to sneakily claim as another C for Canada in a 'six degrees of separation' type of way. 



Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter C - for Cuba, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, chamanto and costumes - See It On A Postcard


Sunday, 26 August 2018

Buildings in Belgium

1962: Birth Centenary of Victor Horta (Design/Engraver - Jean De Bast)
What better place to start than the house and workshop of Victor Horta (now a museum) one of the founders of Art Nouveau in the 1890s. It forms with three other town houses in Brussels a UNESCO designated world heritage site of human genius under the heading Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta.
1966: Tourist Publicity II (Design - Herman Verbaere)
As a contrast here is the ancient and mighty bulk of the 10th Century Bouillon Castle built on a rocky ridge by a sharp bend of the Semois River. Cut into the rock face, deep damp dungeons and a drawbridge entrance, everything one might want of a castle, unless one had to live in it. The next view is the rococo 18th Century Lier Town Hall which integrates an older structure of a belfry dated 1369, one of 32 belfries throughout the region which are drawn together as part of the UNESCO heritage site 'Belfries of Belgium and France'. Another of those belfries
1978: Europa -Architecture (Design - Oscar Bonnevalle)
is here.  The123 foot tower on the Cathedral of Our Lady which dominates the skyline of Antwerp and if you stand in the square at the right time another treat is to hear the clock carillon. 
1967: Tourist Publicity III (Design - H. Verbaere; Engraver - Henri De Cuyper)
Next we have Spontin Castle whose main tower was built in the 13th Century but in the late 16th Century a major overhaul took place, windows were drilled into the structure and part of the fortifications demolished and it was transformed into a home or chateau, the interior  was altered through the centuries.  Today according to Wikipedia it is "in a precarious state of neglect".  Presumably when it was chosen as a stamp subject it was in a much better shape 
2017: Europa - Palaces and Castles (Design - Kris Nauwelaerts and Kri Maes)
but its fairy tale towers still resonate because this imaginary sand castle is built up from details of 5 existing castles one of which is Spontin seen on the previous stamp (the others in the sandcastle are Gaasbeek, Colonster, Alden Biesen and Antoing).  Touching the stamp sheet is just like returning from the beach and as we know sand gets everywhere so there is a rough sand-grain effect on the surface on the stamp sheet.




This week's Sunday Stamps II prompt is the Letter B - for Belgium and Buildings - more Bs at See It On A Postcard



   

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Art in Aland

1986: Centenary of the Artists' Colony in Önningeby
A summer picnic what could be more delightful and this one is a gathering of artists.  Formed in 1886 an artists colony was born in the village of Önningeby around the Finnish landscape painter Victor Westerholm.  It was one of many Nordic artistic colonies in the late 19th Century inspired by the impressionists and painting outdoors. In 1884 Westerholm had bought a summer house in Önningeby by the Lemstrom Canal and encouraged his friends to join him in the Åland Islands to paint.  I think the postcard shows the first summer gathering of the eight friends in 1886 and over time the numbers would grow until with the coming of the first world war and the death of Westerholm in 1919 it came to an end.    
The stamp shows a drawing of 1891 by Victor Westerholm in indian ink depicting the scenery of  Önningeby.  It is said the area is not particularly scenic but the existence of many large farm houses meant there were lots of places for the artists to stay.  Today one of those farmhouses, the Jonesas Farm, has been converted into a museum and exhibits paintings by some of the artists who stayed in the colony, unusually for the time a large number of those artists were women.
1984 Maximum Card 5 "Åland among the Nordic Countries"
The village of Önningeby and its museum is vaguely in the area of my arrow above, 4 miles north east of Mariehamn. Victor Westerholm came from Turku on the coast of Finland, a 6 hour ferry journey away and the artists came from both Finland and Sweden so you can also see the ferry routes they would have taken.

I wonder if Åland Post took the ferry or flew to Turku
when they attended the Spring Postage Stamp and Postcard Show, their luggage would have included this Exhibition Card whose theme in 2017 was mail boxes, many of which are painted, the islanders letting their inner artist free.

The exhibition stamp shows the box in place (often they are hung in rows so you can just see the one next to it) with the exhibition cancel which as the Åland Islanders speak Swedish uses the Swedish name for Turku - Åbo.




This week's Sunday Stamps II prompt is the letter A - for Art, Åland and Åbo - See It On A Postcard.
 

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Zeppelins

1968: Definitive (New Currency)
On Lusaka's Cathedral Hill sits the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross, it was built in the 1960s and the light of the African sun streaming through the coloured mosaic of stained glass must make the services go with a zing.  From Zambia I journey into the air
1988: Aviation Achievements
with a Zeppelin. The particular airship chosen for the stamp by Guyana is the LZ92 it was launched in 1917 and mainly used by the German military for reconnaissance missions although it did drop bombs once on some British docks. From war to peacetime 
and the most successful airship in history the Graf Zeppelin FZ127 launched in 1928 which took regular flights to North and South America, other destinations included a world tour in 1929 and an Arctic trip in 1930.  Eventually the airship was dismantled in 1940 on the orders of Herman Goring.
Going back in time to the some of the first adventures into the skies here is Pierre Testu-Brissy on a horse taking off from Bellevue Park, Paris. The horse had been trained to stand perfectly still on a platform regardless of the surroundings unfortunately its nose started to bleed due to the altitude of the balloon, happily both horse and rider returned safely. This was the first horse mounted balloon flight, zany.
Graf Zeppelin flying over Rijswijk, Zuid Holland in 1930
(Dutch Windmills collection)


The Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter Z - for Zambia and Zeppelins - for more Zs zoom over to See It On A Postcard.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Young Ones

1995 UN (New York): Youth - Our Future
For the UN International Youth Year in 1995 the Austrian artist Gottfried Kumpf produced this FDC. As well as his paintings he is known for his small bronze sculptures of animals and people and the twins he created for his series on the zodiac signs appear embossed on the cover.  The little figure he is famous for is of his Kumpf sitting down called 'Asocial' or 'Social Misfit'
but a more accurate translation from what he has said I think is rather the artist as outsider observing but also needing a place to dream. Sometimes he places this figure hidden in the periphery of his paintings but I think he has placed himself this time
in plain view 'Man Looking Out to Sea'.  The other stamp is on the move with cycling family.  When he was a young boy Kumpf liked to go out with his dog and sit and paint whereas

1982: Joy of Europe
Heiko Jäkel aged 7 from Berlin stayed closer to home with his painting 'In the Bath Tub" and
Tibor Božo, aged 6 took a walk around his home town of Subotica to watch and paint the traffic.  The stamps and cards were issued by PTT (Post - Telegraphic - Telephone) whose museum in Belgrade hosts a children's postal hour the first Saturday every month, well I think it does because the website doesn't seem to have been updated in a while.  I do know that the 'Joy of Europe' festival which the stamps celebrate is still going strong, founded by the city of Belgrade in 1969 and organised by the Children's Cultural Centre it takes place at the beginning of October every year
with dance and music. So I move to paintings by children to a painting of a child
1970:The Art of Otto Nagel et al
and Otto Nagel's 'Portrait of a Young Girl' which is actually his daughter Sibylle who was born in 1943.  The painting today is in Dresden's Galerie Neue Meister which displays painting from the 19th Century to the present.
1991: African Animals
Lastly who can resist a baby elephant stamp. I could claim that this is a link to where I started this post with Gottfreid Kumpf whose sculpture of a baby African elephant stands outside the Natural History Museum in Vienna but really it is serendipity.

Master of Supply Lines (Rail)

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter Y - for Young and Yugoslavia - be Ys and See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Xylography

1974: Polish Woodcuts in the 16th Century
I flipped open a dictionary for help when discovering this week's letter was X and found the word xylography, wood carving.  In the 1970s Poland issued a series depicting Polish woodcuts taken from a book published in 1575 by Bartosz Paprocki which contained about 100 illustrations. The artist and stamp designer Tadeusz Michaluk chose four of the numerous illustrations made by an unknown artist.  The stamp shows an archer hunting a bear.
1977: Polish Woodcuts (Design - Tadeusz Michaluk; Engraver - M. Kopecki
This one shows bird snaring. The other two stamps can be seen here.  From the linked article I would guess each of the stamp illustrations has a moral, for the full title of the book is "Knights' gathering in which various creatures hold conversations providing an example for men on how to live, what to learn and what to avoid".  Snappy title.  By weird coincidence the eclectic Europeana blog on Thursday was about text announcements in early printed books so it was recent enough for me to retain the fun fact that it was between the 15th and 16th century that title pages of books began to appear.
1963: Centenary of the National Museum of Iceland
The other place to marvel at wood carvings are of course churches and this is a detail from the church door at Valþjófsstaður from approximately the year 1200, the only medieval Icelandic door in existence. The stamp shows part of the story of the Knight and the Lion 
1972: Environmental Conservation (Engraver - Czeslaw Slania)
Swedish Post issued stamps for the June 1972 UN Human Environment Conference in Stockholm and the stamp shows a wooden relief - The Spring - by the artist Bror Hjorth
The other two stamps of the set show the emblem and motto of the conference - Only One Earth - in six languages.  It was interesting to read a paragraph of the FDC insert from a distance of the decades that have passed since  "... one of the aims which the Conference was summoned has already been achieved - to arouse the interest of government and public opinion in the importance of environmental problems and in the degree of their urgency, so that greater attention will be devoted to the subject when policies and programmes are formed for economic and social development in all countries. The Conference may be regarded as the first stage on that long journey towards a better human environment which we must all undertake in a spirit of international solidarity".  How are we doing?


Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter X - for xylography - exit to  See It On A Postcard