Friday 28 October 2016


"Nana Tête de Fleurs" 1971
This exuberant scene could be on your wall for it is a postcard of wallpaper (the background is rather more on the pink spectrum than the scan shows).  The designer is Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002), sculptor and painter who from 1964/5 onward produced a playful series of brightly coloured sculptures called Nana (French slang for girl or chick). These larger than life voluptuous and often athletic women play and enjoy life. On the wallpaper a girl with a head of flowers dances on a sunny day.  Niki de Saint Phalle alongside her art produced, flower vases, jewelry and  a fragrance whose bottle featured blue gold butterflies and a logo of entwined serpents.  Some of these objects were created to raise funds for her big and expensive project The Tarot Garden (inspired by the architecture of Antionio Gaudi which she saw when visiting Spain),  She started to create the Tarot Garden in the late 1970s on 14 acres of land in Tuscany, one of the people that got involved in the project was the local postman, Ugo Celletti,  who discovered a passion for mosaic work, the consequence of which that the locals often didn't get their post on time.  After her death Ugo helped maintain the garden now two of his nephews act as caretakers and thousands of people visit this corner of Italy each year.    (The New Yorker featured her story this year in Beautiful Monsters. Art and Obsession in Tuscany)

Postcards for the Weekend is "Anything you wish" joining the Linky Party at Connections to the World

Sunday 23 October 2016

City Views

1947-1954:  Definitive stamp
Just described as 'Walled City' I think this is a beautifully designed stamp and the issue also came in a variety of colours but I think the black and white shows the details the best.  Designed and engraved by a French duo who produced a number of Moroccan stamps, these stamps were issued at the time of the French Protectorate however they were printed by Lugat of Casablanca.  I wonder if the artist Camille Paul Josso (1902-1986) lived in Morocco for a time as he exhibited there and is described as an orientalist painter.  The engraver Pierre Gandon produced many stamps and was the artist and engraver for three of the French Marianne definitive stamps.  Here is the blue version of the Walled City.
Well its time to set sail for another city
1962: 'Old Berlin' Series
and we arrive in Berlin and the bridge over the River Spree at Waisenbrücke which I think is called Orphans Bridge.  If it is Orphans Bridge when the Berlin Wall went up in 1961 it became part of East Berlin's border with West Berlin which would make the view a nice political statement by West Berlin Post of an undivided city.  The view is from a painting of the city from 1783 by, I presume, H. Hiller, the engraver is Egon Falz (1932-2010) a prolific stamp engraver.
2000: Tourist Sights
Staying with bridges here is the 12th Century Stone Bridge across the Danube in Regensburg, a Bavarian city whose medieval centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The medieval bridge felt the strain of modern traffic and is at the moment under restoration and expected to reopen some time in 2017.  The attention to detail in its restoration included searching for  the right type of sandstone to match the original which they eventually found in a disused quarry. 

Time to go to the airport and visit another city
1966: Airmail
flying into London over the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The added treat is a nice clear post-horn cancel.   This Hungarian airmail post set has an aeroplane flying over some of the most familiar sights of Europe. 
1995: Trams (Stamp Design Rolf Erikson from a photo by Lars Olov Karlsson)
I don't like driving in big cities and who needs to if there is a good public transport system although the postcard and stamp feature 1967 when generally public transport was more diverse.  The date is significant because that is when the tram lines in Stockholm were withdrawn because traffic in Sweden switched from driving on the left to the right.  The line was restored in 1991 as a heritage tram line and the Route 7 shown on the sign is one you can ride today on a heritage tram and if especially enthusiastic combine with a visit to the Tram Museum.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - City Views - take a trip to See It On A Postcard

Friday 21 October 2016

Snowy Peak

Mount Hood reflected in Trillium Lake which lies over 7 miles (12k) south west of the mountain but Oregon's highest peak can be seen for a hundred miles.  It is the perfect mountain shape as I might have drawn as child, it is actually a volcano although only partially active and not very likely to erupt. The lake is not natural but formed from damming the headwaters of Mud Creek and named after the flowers in the area. It is popular spot for fishing, camping and, yes, photography.  At 11,249 ft (3,429m) serious climbing equipment is required to reach the top of Mount Hood although its lower slopes are popular for skiing.

The sender of the card, Jess, comes from Colorado which she describes as basically nothing but mountains and loves seeing Mount Hood as she drives along the highway where she now lives in Oregon. As a contrast to her state of origin she now lives in a forest and near the sea.

'Postcards for the Weekend' on the theme - Reflections on Water - join the Maria's Linky Party here

Sunday 16 October 2016

Take the Biscuit

I'm lacking in stamps for this week's theme of Foods of the World but for those with a sweet tooth here are some Bagværk which Google translates as baked goods.  This may make more sense than its translation of the other words on the miniature sheet - 'hyggestunder en mørk tid' - candlestick a dark time.  I make a guess that this may be something to do with the Danish word, hygge, cosyness, which has a deeper meaning in their culture, something like the warm glow of candlelight and enjoying the good things of life with friends and family perhaps around a table with lots of food and sweet things.   These are Christmas Biscuits.  To my eyes they look like gingerbread men but in Denmark it takes a different twist for these are

2015: Christmas Biscuits
honey cake man, honey cake heart and honey cake woman.  The recipes for these can be traced back to the middle ages, today they are decorated with icing and can be hung on the Christmas tree. The advice is that the full flavour of the honey first appears after a week so bake in advance of Christmas.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Foods of the World - come to the table at See It On A Postcard

Friday 14 October 2016

Calgary Cowboys

"Young Cow Punchers, Calgary"
A trio of "Cow Punchers" as the card calls them, in other words, cowboys.  Interesting that the boy who is about to brand the cow is wearing a flat cap.  Is that job demarcation!  The reverse of the card says
"This is the way they catch the cattle on the Prairie when they want to brand them", the farming recipient of the card, keeper of cows and collector of postcards, in the UK would have been interested on a number of levels.  The colourised card would have been sent in the first decades of the 20th century (some time after 1904 as that was the year that Canada introduced the divided back card).  Calgary was the heart of the cattle industry at the time.  I couldn't resist adding a 21st century stamp of a western saddle
2012: Centenary of the Calgary Stampede
Postcards for the Weekend theme - Children - join the Linky Party at Connections to the World

Sunday 9 October 2016

Wartime Post

2015: Stories of the Great War Part II (Stamp Design: Charlotte Barnes)
What a mammoth task it was getting post to and from the front line in World War 1 and Guernsey Post celebrated those pieces of postal history that survive in 2015.  The items shown on the stamps were brought to Guernsey Post by family members in response to a request put out to the public in 2013 to share the islanders stories of the Great War.  Lets look at the stamp
The first (42p) shows Philip Carré, the island of Sark's postman who left home to volunteer in the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry.  Many of his descendants still live on Sark including his great grandson, Simon, who is continuing the family tradition and is one of the island's postmen. Next (56p) is one of the mail boats that carried the mail across the English Channel, the steamship 'Vera' built on the Clyde in 1898. The 57p shows an embroidered sampler sending the Christmas greeting of Lt Peter Le Page of the Royal Army Medical Corps. A lot of these embroidered cards sent from soldiers to their sweethearts survive and I have two sent to my Grandmother by her first husband who sadly did not return from the war.
12,000 of the countries post office workers enlisted in the Post Office Rifles and the 62p stamp shows five Guernsey ex post officer workers, members of the 8th Battalion City of London Regiment, Private J G Fowler, AW Smith, LW Burridge, HF Taylor and RF DE Garis. Lawrence Burridge was killed in May 1916 aged 23 and Albert Smith died from gunshot wounds in December 1917 aged 25, the fate of the other three is not known.  The 68p stamp shows a pre-printed Field Service Postcard sent from Private Yves Cataroche.  The soldiers referred to these as Wizz Bangs (their nickname for the small German artillery shells) because they got through the censors so quickly.  Lastly the 77p stamp shows Robert and Ethel Bynam.  He was a postman who started as a telegram boy at 14 and like Philip Carré in the first stamp joined the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry' and like him continued as a postman after the war until retirement.  Ethel was a postmistress who would have understood the significance of how and where stamps are placed on cards, this one says 'longing to see you again'. Robert and Ethel married in 1922. Their grandson, Dave, is Head of Network Planning at Guernsey Post.  

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Postal Related.  Love Post - See It on A Postcard

Friday 7 October 2016

Passing the Post Box

This man holding a large cauliflower always makes me smile.  I like to think he is returning home from his Allotment with this freshly dug prize specimen tucked under his arm for dinner.  The post box where he is posting his letter is another prize specimen for this is the hexagonal 'Penfold' (named after its designer) and some post box enthusiasts will travel the country for a sight and picture of one of these ornate pillar boxes.  The first one was installed in 1866 and they continued to be manufactured, with small design variations, for another thirteen years.  Their continuing popularity with people meant that around 1988/1990 Royal Mail introduced a replica made of cast iron from a mold of the original Penfold and installed them in places of historic interest; so as not to confuse the original with the replicas these have a plate on the base indicating its more modern date.  There is no indication on the postcard of where the box is or was but the year the photograph was taken is stated, 1949.

More 'Postcards for the Weekend' on the theme - Post/Mail Related Items at Connections to the World

Sunday 2 October 2016


I knew instantly what stamps I would be showing this week when I saw the Sunday Stamps theme and it is these little birds with big personalities issued by the Isle of Man earlier this year. Painted by the graffiti artist and illustrator Matt Sewell they asked him especially to portray a Manx Shearwater for the set so that is the one we start with.  Centuries ago this bird was called the Manks Puffin, I wonder if that is why its Latin name is Puffinus puffinus  The bold text on the stamps immediately identify all the birds
Matt Sewell says he has been obsessed with bird for as long as he can remember and has published a series of books to share that obsession such as 'Our Garden Birds' and 'Owls - our most enchanting bird' (the first book he has published concentrating on just one order of birds)
  His latest book is 'Penguins and Other Sea Birds' which he describes as celebrating our coastal friends and those from around the world.
A very flashy hobby which looks as though it is dressed up for a night out.  I am always amazed by how long a cormorant can stop underwater.  I was watching one diving on a canal last week although it seemed to have as little success as the fisherman further down the towpath but it was fascinating to see where it would surface. I'd put money on the cormorant rather than the fisherman to finish the day with a catch.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Birds - fly over to See It On A Postcard to join the flock