Royal Mail special set pays homage to man who shaped British design | Stamps

A new series of stamps is launched to pay tribute to David Gentleman, the designer who changed the face of the British stamp.

Gentleman, who has been hailed as Britain’s most prolific and influential stamp designer, designed over 100 stamps for the Royal Mail between 1962 and 2000 and provided many other designs which went unused.

Royal Mail worked with him to choose a selection of some of his most famous and influential images.

The tribute to Gentleman is notable as it is the first time that Royal Mail has dedicated an entire issue to a designer of its commemorative stamps.

David Gold, spokesman for the Royal Mail, said Gentleman was “one of the leading artists involved in British stamp design“.

“For more than half a century he has made a lasting contribution to British stamp design. His work continues to influence and inspire designers today.

The first successful Gentleman designs were for National Productivity Year in 1962 and used symbolic arrows.

Three years later he wrote to the new Postmaster General, Tony Benn, in response to a general invitation for stamp ideas, recommending more interesting subjects than had been presented previously.

He also proposed a new stamp size and introduced a small cameo of the Queen, based on her profile as depicted by Mary Gillick on 1953 coins.

His most recent stamp designs were for the Millennium Timekeeper miniature sheet, depicting the stylized hands of a clock and a globe.

The 9d stamp designed by David Gentleman for British ships issued in 1969. Photograph: Royal Mail/PA

The new set of six stamps will be available from Friday and will feature the National Productivity Year 1962, the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Royal Mail has issued commemorative stamps in the past to celebrate historical events and notable people, such as stamps commemorating the Rolling Stones and celebrating 150 years of rugby union.

Gentleman said, “The stamps were fun to design, although squeezing a lot into a small space wasn’t easy. At first it was difficult to fit the queen’s head until I made it the simple profile that is still used today.

“The stamps I particularly enjoyed designing were for the Battle of Hastings 1066 and the social reformers.”

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