Archive for the 'United Kingdom' Category

bionic hand / 生体工学の手

March 30, 2017

19 February 2015, United Kingdom
Inventive Britaini-LIMB
inventor:  David Gow, stamp design: GBH

I noticed that I have been featuring hands on stamps over a year – well, long enough.  So, it is the last one for this time and an artificial hand.  This hand with lots of tiny motors is invented to help people without their own hand and operated by electrical pulses in the muscles of remaining part of the arm.

The stamp designer used its blueprint, and added its electrical movement of ‘wish’ – signals released from the user’s brain – which triggers the motors to move fingers.  It is not easy to explain such a complicated idea in the space of a stamp, but this is delivering its sense of motion and complexity.




hand and tool 3 / 手と道具 3

March 13, 2017

5 September 2000, United Kingdom
Mind and Matter / Millennium projects
design:  The Post Office

Only 31 years since the last featured stamp “hand and tool 2” – one of many Millennium stamps was showing the latest tool at that time, and an operating hand in X-ray photo.

Well, it is a bit old-fashioned shape of mouse with wire ( ooops, already 17 years ago! ), but it was less than a decade since the mouse became a common tool for many industries.

ひとつ前のポストで紹介した『手と道具 2』から31年経った2000年に、ミレニアム記念としてたくさん発行された切手のひとつがこの手とマウスのレントゲン写真でした。


hand and tool 2 / 手と道具 2

March 5, 2017


2 April 1969, United Kingdom
I.L.O. Emblem
design: Philip Sharland & Howard Dyke

Hand holds spanner – the symbol of massive numbers of mechanics or labours who supported the industrial revolution and following flourish of the Secondary sector of the economy.  Then this combination became the symbol of labour’s union against the managements who did not hold industrial tools.

This stamp is celebrating 50 years of the International Labour Organization, the agency to protects rights of labours.

スパナを持つ手 – 産業革命に始まり、その後の第二次産業の繁栄を支えた工場労働者をあらわすシンボル。この図象はまた、手を使って働く人たちの団結のシンボルとして、手を汚さない経営者に対峙する時にも使われました。


toys / 玩具

January 26, 2016


18 September 2003, United Kingdom
Classic Transport Toys
designed by Trickett & Webb

I wrote that I don’t like stamps of photographed toys….. and then I found these British stamps!  They are good – delivering an evocative feeling of vintage toys.  What makes them different then? Maybe the simplicity of a white background and the braveness of adding nothing behind the object.  For example, these Swiss stamps or these Bosnia and Herzegovina – are not bad, but not cool.  This Liechtenstein set is funny and my favourite.

Once I saw a collection of Meccano used in the design development process in a design studio.  It’s a wonderful system, good enough to examine how a real product works!




retro kawaii / レトロかわいい

June 25, 2015


15 May 2001, United Kingdom
150th Anniversary of First Double-Decker Bus
design: Consignia plc

Somehow British stamps like to show objects or faces from the straight front.  I think this is brave to illustrate buses from the front – they are normally depicted their character of the long side views.  As a result of these stamps, you notice that some buses have kawaii faces…

But not all of them are kawaii, in fact – it is very personal opinion, maybe, but the ones in a stamp below are not cute.  To compare to those industrialised faces, very recent bus designed by Thomas Heatherwick is, in a way, kawaii.  What is the decisive point?  Round, low and distanced eyes??

Oh, and as you might notice, that this series are printed in one long band of 16 front faces.  Click the bottom image to enlarge.






175 years ago, the very first one / 世界発の切手

May 26, 2015

*exch. 065

6 May 2015, United Kingdom
The 175th Anniversary of the Penny Black
designed by Sedley Place

The original stamp was designed by Henry Corbould, based on ‘City’ medal by William Wyon

175 years ago this month, the world’s first stamps were printed and used.  Yes, the Penny Black.  Postal services were already used all over Europe, but for the first time the cost for the delivery of a message is made uniform within a nation by the innovation of stamps – the brainchild of Sir Rowland Hill, who founded the Post Office.

The stamp design is very simple, just added perforation line, the current Queen’s silhouette and denomination on one corner – no other way to celebrate this stamp, I agree.  Then the two are matched with the Twopenny Blue, in a sheet.

*exch. 066




propagation of print / 技術は伝播する

March 5, 2015


29 September 1976, UK
500th Anniversary of British Printing
designer: Richard Gay ( winner of the stamp design competition )

Only 20 years after the Gutenberg Bible, already in England the new technology of letterpress printing had been developed and large numbers of publications were produced.

These stamps with letters from that time and a picture of a printing workshop are showing British printer William Caxton’s works.  He was the first English publisher that produced commercial books.  His printer’s device is quite beautiful.




pre heraldry / 紋章のルーツ

June 28, 2014


14 October 1966, United Kingdom
900th Anniversary of Battle of Hastings
design: David Gentleman

The heraldry was born from the marks on the battle shields used by the medieval knights.  The shields in these stamps show one of the most early primitive signs of families or individuals, used to classify the foe and ally.

These stamps are based on Bayeux Tapestry, depicted the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  They give us some idea of how brutal those battles were.  Even a thief is taking cloth off a dead body and the silhouette of the Queen is looking at that scene rather calmly.





suit of armour 3 / 甲冑 3

May 26, 2014


10 July 1974, United Kingdom
Great Britons, The Black Prince (1330 – 1376)

I did not post a new stamp for one and half months… and I am still on the theme of horses and knights in armour!  A little too slow to move on, but now I am thinking to step into a new area of ‘heraldry‘ stamps – a recent favourite theme of my collection.

Edward, The Black Prince was the first English Prince of Wales in the 14th century and he was very popular as a strong military leader.

My reference book “Heraldry Stamps” (published in 1987) tells me about the patterns and significance of his decoration in this picture.  The following two are the Welsh leader Owain Glyndŵr (c. 1349 – c. 1415) and the Scottish king Robert the Bruce (1274 – 1329).





farm produce & horse / 農作物と馬

January 20, 2014


5 October 1983, United Kingdom
British Fairs / Early Produce Fairs
design: Andrew Restall

Another stamp from UK, depicts horses as a part of a summer farm fair.  They transported vegetables and geese to the farmer’s markets.

And a cat.



design-it-yourself / オリジナルを作る切手

October 7, 2013


25 March 2003, United Kingdom
Design-It-Yourself ‘Fruit and Vegetables’
designer: Johnson Banks
photographer: Kevin Summers


I am not a fan of self-adhesive stamps normally, but for this set it is appropriate and a great joy to have a lots of sticker parts to choose from.

The only one restriction is not to hide the Queen’s silhouette and 1st class value.  So, the results are my designs, except Mr. Potato, which was one of the examples by the designer.

In 2010 Finland issued a bad copied version of this series – not as cool as this British original design.  What’s going on at the Finnish Post??


「Design-It-Yourself 」というテーマでシール切手に付属して顔や帽子などのパーツのシールを足してオリジナルな切手を作るシリーズです。女王の肖像とファーストクラスの額面を隠さないよう、という注意書きつき。



ocean mammals / 海のほ乳類

August 16, 2013


13 April 2010, United Kingdom
Action for British Mammals
design: Jason Godfrey
photograph: Thomas Haidar for Sperm whale, Brandon Cole for Humpback whale

I hear from Japan that the temperature and humidity are on their maximum, people are experiencing the extreme summer.  It seems similar or even hotter in South Korea.  How about where you are?

These stamps are for visual chill-out – huge animals living in British seas.  I am strongly against Japanese ‘Research’ Whaling, by the way.



native animals / もともといた動物たち

August 13, 2013


13 April 2010, United Kingdom
Action for British Mammals
design: Jason Godfrey
photograph: Laurie Cambell for hedgehog, Paul Hobson for polecat

I found the British Wildlife Centre while searching about the Otter.  Hedgehog and Polecat, two animals on today’s stamps are found at this centre, too.  I learned that they are both native to Britain.

It is interesting that you can join the photographic workshops at this Centre.  You may need special techniques to capture animals in photography – these two stamps feature nice faces.  The Hedgehog is surprised by sunlight and the Polecat looks determined.

カワウソのことを調べていて見つけた「British Wildlife Centre」には、この動物たちもいるようです。センターのHPでは、イギリスに今いる動物たちが、もとからいたのか持ち込まれたのかを知ることができます。今日の2枚のハリネズミヨーロッパイタチは原生種でした。


otter / カワウソ

August 12, 2013


13 April 2010, United Kingdom
Action for British Mammals
design: Jason Godfrey / photograph: Paul Hobson

In Britain the Otter was on the verge of extinction about 30 years ago.  After the harmful pesticides were regulated and rivers became cleaner, they are back.  As they live far from towns and their activities start around sunset, we still don’t see them much.

This stamp is issued for the International Year of Biodiversity, one of a set which is featuring rather unfamiliar animals in Britain.  Royal Mail is good on photographic stamps and this series is well executed, showing great details of whiskers and the stream of water.



finally summer / やっと来た、夏

July 16, 2013


15 May 2007, United Kingdom
Beside the Seaside
design: Phelan Barker

Finally we have summer here in the UK for the last 7 days.  Blue sky! Ice cream!!  Our hydrangea has survived a long cold spring and is just starting to bloom now.

The negative side of summer here is; melting roads, steaming Underground and buses and expanded rails – all making our travels nasty…  I thought about beaches, but have not been there yet.



nyoro nyoro / にょろにょろ

January 7, 2013


11 March 2008, United Kingdom
St. Patrick‘ in a sheet of Celebrating Northern Ireland
illustration: Clare Melinsky / design: Silk Pearce

Kune kune is mostly for a single object swaying or winding.  When more than one object are together going kune kune – that is nyoro nyoro!!

The third stamp of this year is from the UK, showing St. Patrick – with three snakes nyoro-nyoro-ing behind columns!  In the legend, St. Patrick was attacked by snakes when he was doing his ’40 Day Fast’ and he chased them into the sea and banished all snakes from Ireland…  Well, modern research tells us different reasons why no snakes are found on the island.

「くねくね」している生き物が集まって一緒に動いている様子が「にょろにょろ」ー という定義をしてみました。そんな感じがしませんか?


Thunderbird / サンダーバード

October 20, 2012

11 January 2011, United Kingdom
The Genius of Gerry Anderson
Thunderbird (1965)

At the same time as the previously posted Supermarionation series, the Royal Mail issued this Thunderbird – the best known work by Gerry Anderson.  In the same set, they issued special stamps with lenticular printing, to show the starting movements of four Thurderbird ships.

To share the effect of these stamps, I made four movies, 4, 3, 2 and 1 – click the stamp to guide you YouTube clips.  I am not equipped to add sound to these movies yet – this link would give you evocative memories.

Thunderbird 4, piloted by Gordon Tracy
Thunderbird 3, Piloted by Alan Tracy
Thunderbird 2, Piloted by Virgil Tracy
Thunderbird 1, Piloted by Scott Tracy



Supermarionation / 特撮人形劇

October 6, 2012

11 January 2011, United Kingdom
The Genius of Gerry Anderson
Supercar (1961)
Fireball XL5 (1962)
Stingray (1964)
Captain Scarlet (1967)
Joe 90 (1968)

The shape of old style television screens in these stamps, are showing works by Gerry Anderson – of course, best known for the Thunderbird series.  They have influenced a lot of science fiction films after then.

テレビ画面の切手は特撮人形劇プロデューサーのジェリー・アンダーソンの作品たち。上から『スーパーカー』『宇宙船XL-5』『海底大戦争 スティングレイ』『キャプテン・スカーレット』そして『ジョー90』の場面です。『サンダーバード』もアンダーソンの作で、これらのテレビ・シリーズは後の世界中の立体アニメ番組やサイエンスフィクション映画に影響を与えたのは間違いないですね。

camera and TV / カメラとテレビ

September 17, 2012

19 September 1967, United Kingdom
British Discovery and Invention
Television Equipment
design: Richard Negus & Philip Sharland

Together with Radar, Penicillium Notatum and Jet Engines, television equipment is counted as one of the biggest inventions in Britain.  BBC and Channel 4 are the successors of this invention – usage of that equipment has been developed for decades, to show us the great detail of sports in recent Olympic and Paralympic games.

I wonder which era of equipment is depicted in this stamp – contemporary with the stamp design? Beautiful colour and composition, looks like a woodblock print.



sailing / セーリング

September 16, 2012

11 June 1975, United Kingdom
design: Andrew Restall

As you can see on the cover of a book of ‘Royal Mail Stamps’ (1980), the designer made many sketches for this set of stamps. He took a long time to decide the composition of the stamps, and also re-drew the chosen ones for adopting the new printing method of intaglio lines on top of gravure.  As a result of effort and fine adjustment, this set has outstanding beauty.

During the Olympic games, I enjoyed the view from those sailing boats – images sent from a little waterproof camera on each boat, showing how dynamic and subtle it is to control sails in the competition.  But 38 years ago, the stamp designer had to draw them from the land or a harbour, as no equipment was suitable for being soaked by the waves.

『Royal Mail Stamps』(1980) という本の表紙になっているように、この切手のデザイナーはセーリングのタイプやアングルを決めるために時間をかけてスケッチをしたようです。4枚の構図が決まったのちも、グラビアで刷った色面に凹版印刷を重ねる新しい手法に合うように、色と線の両方を描き直した、と本の中で紹介されています。当然ながら、そんなたくさんの手間ののちにこの美しい切手が生まれたわけです。