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Posts tagged ‘philately’


10 November 2011

Third-Rate Stamps

Gillian Darley

By unlucky coincidence, the Royal Mail launched this year’s set of Christmas stamps the day before the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition opened at the National Gallery. On the one hand, both versions of The Virgin of the Rocks in the same room; on the other, to ‘celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible’, Mary looking like one of the Bisto kids, but more inane, with her head wrapped in an ethnically imprecise white cloth, covering her hair but knotted oddly at the back. That’s on the first-class stamp, purporting to illustrate Matthew 1.23 (‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son’). The larger version shows a dove, apparently perched on a Windsor chair.