The King's Stamps

Never underestimate the power of the United States Postal Service to make your day. Mine was made when I received “Eric Gill’s Notes on Postage Stamps,” a booklet published by The Kat Ran Press (Cambridge, Mass.) with sketches and essay by Gill on his design of UK postage stamps.

Eric Gill had exacting and pointed opinions about postage stamps, their purpose, and their design. Unfortunately, his theories didn’t always hold up when put into practice, and he had a less than successful career as a designer of stamps. Accompanied by nine of Gill’s previously unpublished preparatory drawings and sketches for stamps, Notes on Postage Stamps is a short, previously unpublished essay by Gill in which he succinctly lays out his philatelic ideas—some of which were a little too idealistic and some of which were spot-on. All of them are interesting and thought-provoking.

Notes on Postage Stamps contains fifty-six full-color illustrations, most of which will be completely unfamiliar to historians and enthusiasts of Gill’s work. An afterword by Michael Russem chronicles Gill’s seven attempts at stamp design—only two of which resulted in published stamps.

It is a joy to read and view. See some pages here. Copies are available in standard and deluxe editions here. And for more about the Kat Ran Press go here.

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