Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks
As usual Royal Mail will issue a set of 6 Christmas stamps, a miniature sheet and a Smilers Sheet. This year’s Christmas stamps mark a return to a religious theme with traditional Italianate representations of angels created by Italian illustrator Marco Ventura who works on gesso coated paper. The stamps will be issued in definitive and large sizes. The two Madonna stamps were produced in reaction to a popular demand for stamps bearing an overtly Christian image and will be reissued in future years.
The Angels stamps feature illustrations by Italian illustrator Marco Ventura. He works in a style similar to those of Renaissance fresco painters drawing in pencil on gesso coated paper and then hand colouring the image.
Marco Ventura grew up with angels, son of a book illustrator, a Roman Catholic in Italy where angels flutter across the walls of every church. “Since I was a child I’ve been surrounded by images of Saints, Madonnas and flying angels with banners,” he said. He began as a teenager like any medieval apprentice, hand colouring his father’s pen and ink illustrations. His own work is traditional in technique, beginning with drawings in very hard pencil on paper prepared with a thin coat of gesso plaster. Angels bearing their messages of peace on earth spelled out in rippling banners are a common motif in Italian art from the Renaissance on. There were about 100 preparatory sketches, and originally a whole orchestra of angels - “angels playing music was I thought a nice combination and very appropriate for the Christmas theme” - before the final versions were selected. The horizon is at the same level in each so that the angels line up in the same landscape across the four stamps.
“When painting the Angels I liked the idea of them as neither female nor male, also I wanted them to be on the earth - not flying in the sky – as nice protective figures that please everyone with their music.”
The two Madonna & Child stamps feature two classic
paintings of the image.
2nd class - William Dyce, c. 1827. In pearly light, the sweet faced young Madonna cradling her child before a limpid landscape, clearly shows the influence of Renaissance art, particularly of the young Raphael. Dyce led the way and in turn became a supporter of the radical group of young English painters, the Pre-Raphaelites.
1st Class - The Madonna of Humility, Lippo di Dalmasio, c. 1390-1400. Extensive damage and centuries of repairs have dimmed but not eclipsed the grace of The Madonna, crowned with 12 stars, against a disc of golden light, recalling Saint John’s vision of the Woman of the Apocalypse, “clothed with the sun”, in the Book of Revelation.
Angels: Formatting and typography by Rose Design. Madonna: Formatting and typography are by Peter Willberg.
The stamps have been printed by De la Rue Security Print in gravure. The small stamps are definitive size - 20 x 24mm - and the Large Letter stamps 30 x 24mm. The stamps will be die-cut on the self-adhesive sheets, the two Madonna stamps with elliptical perforations like definitives, and the Angel stamps perforated conventionally all round.
The stamps sold at PO counters and supplied to dealers have rouletted backing paper for easy separation, but the stamps in presentation packs have guillotined 'imperf' backing paper.
The 115x102mm Miniature Sheet will be conventionally gummed. It contains the six stamps, arranged as a block of 4 and a pair, within a border illustrated by Marco Ventura.
As the stamps are definitive-sized, the Christmas stamp booklets will be the same size as definitive books of 12.
The generic self-adhesive Smilers® Sheet was designed by Rose Design and comprises 20 stamps: 8 x 1st class, 8 x 2nd class and 4 x 78p stamps set within a border and labels illustrated by Marco Ventura. The background features a snow scene with carol singers; thematic features include a cat, church, & Christmas Tree. The Smilers sheets are printed in litho by Cartor Security Printers. Click on the image for a larger one in a new window.
Our limited edition FDCs for this issue includes all 8 stamps with
postmark W10775, Bethlehem - Price £9.50 (image of
The Miniature Sheet cover with postmark M10768 Wesley Road - Price
£8.95 (image of actual cover).
The Smilers Sheet will be available as
Set of 4 Norvic FDCs each with on quarter of the whole sheet, with a different angel postmark on each - £19.50
(note, due to the inclusion of 78p stamps the face value is higher than in previous years).
Norvic FDC with three Smilers stamps 1 x 1st class, 1 x 2nd class ,
& 1 x 78p (postmark as shown: this is a mock-up) - £4.20
Post Office FDC with a full set of 8 stamps
Post Office FDC with the miniature sheet
Set of 6 Angel stamps or miniature sheet unused
Pair of Madonna & Child stamps unused
Set of 9 stamp cards (PHQ cards)
To order stamps, mini-sheets, and FDCs, please visit our online shop.
Special postmarks available on the Day of Issue are shown below: these postmarks cannot be obtained from the PO after 6 November.
Official Bureau postmark
Official Bethlehem postmark
Official Bethlehem non-pictorial postmark
Wesley Road, Birmingham
Happy Christmas, York
Christmas Angels, GBFDC Association, Church, Lancashire
150th anniv of Edward Elgar
Dickens World, Chatham, Kent
A happy Christmas to one and all, Regal Way, Harrow
Angels International for Children in Crisis, Midhurst
Christmas Common Oxfordshire
Peacehaven, East Sussex
Bethlehem, Llandeilo, Carms
Holywell Common, Flintshire
This postmark was announced after the stamps were issued: if you wish to have a copy of this postmark on a FDC or on a plain envelope, please contact us as soon as possible.
This page was updated 20 November 2007
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