To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) is presenting an exciting new exhibition. Diamond Jubilee: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1952 – 2012 will be on show from 10 May 2012 and feature stamps, artwork, photographs, coins and banknotes from the life and reign of the Queen. These will provide the background to the Royal Mail stamp issues for the Diamond Jubilee.
The exhibition is divided into 3 sections; Portrait through the Ages, Stamps, Coins & Banknotes and A Life in Pictures.
Stamps, Coins & Banknotes will show the story of two stamps, two coins and two banknotes, from initial concept to issue, as shown on the miniature sheet definitives issued on 6 February.
With a new reign a portrait of the new monarch is immediately required for use on both stamps and coins. It was arranged that Dorothy Wilding would take appropriate photographs for both on 26 February 1952. The first show the Queen wearing a tiara and this ¾ profile photograph was given to Edmund Dulac to create a drawn portrait as an alternative.
Photographs of Dulac’s first drawing (with tiara) were supplied to various artists, including Dulac, for frames to be designed – with the proviso that a portrait of the Queen wearing a coronet or diadem would eventually be used. For this, Wilding had a second photographic session with the Queen and Dulac revised his original drawing to create a very beautiful version with the diadem. Dulac also drew a full-face portrait of the Queen for one of the Coronation stamps, but sadly he died shortly before either of his stamp designs was issued.
In 1952, Mary Gillick had a sitting with the Queen to produce a plastercast for coins. After the meeting she wrote that she was now the Queen’s “devoted slave for ever, and I think she wasn’t too bored”. Gillick’s version was selected and coins with her effigy were first used in 1953. It is still used on Maundy money today.
Other highlights include stamps from the commonwealth of The Queen as a princess, including the first stamp that ever showed her,
The last section of the exhibition gives you an exclusive insight into the design and production of the new stamps issued in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee, as well as the unadopted designs and the design stages for the miniature sheet.
Kate Stephens, Designer of the Diamond Jubilee stamps commented:
“I like the story the set tells the viewer. The picture of The Queen addressing the United Nations in 1957 makes her look so vulnerable, she was very young and had not long become Queen… The later images then show her relaxed and happy in her work to serve the nation.
So I am pleased after such a long time that we can enjoy these stamps of the Queen “in action”!”
Douglas Muir, Curator of Philately at the BPMA and author of the miniature sheet said:
“The Queen on stamps is an iconic image all over the world. This exhibition will be a unique chance to see some fascinating images from the BPMA’s collection and follow the design processes of some of our most well-known stamps, coins and banknotes”.
Diamond Jubilee: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1952 – 2012
10 May onwards
The British Postal Museum & Archive, Freeling House, Phoenix Place, London WC1X 0DL