Tutankhamun is a really interesting issue – been watching programmes about it on the TV! There are stamps, minisheet and a prestige stamp booklet. This is the last issue of the year, so we are sending it out on its own (obviously!).
The first issue will be out 12th January and it’s quite a big one. We will send it out on its own with the new stamp programme mid-January. We will also be promoting some special offers, so keep an eye out for any flyers.
Even though the temperature is dropping, it’s still rather mild for this time of year. I can’t believe that we are so close to Christmas now too; I feel this year has gone by so incredibly quickly.
We are planning on moving into our new premises just before Christmas, so we will be shutting the office a bit earlier so we have time to make the transition. Our new address will be:
Cotswold & Stuart Covers
48 High Street
Our phone number will stay the same, and we will also have post redirected for a while.
Erica and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your loyalty and custom; it is because of you that we keep going. We wish you a very special Christmas break; we hope you get to spend cherished time with loved ones, and if things are a bit different this year than expected, for whatever reason, we hope you find some peace and joy.
Best Christmas wishes. Emma & Erica
Howard Carter (1874-1939)
Born to artists and having many siblings who were also very talented artists, Howard Carter was a nature lover. He was quite a sickly child, so moved from London to Norfolk, where he became strong and would have followed in his father’s artistic footsteps, had it not been for the acquaintance with the wealthy Amherst family. Thanks to them, young Carter became fascinated with Egypt and from the age of 16, he worked with the archaeologist, Percy Newberry. Working under the wings of other archaeologists such as Flinders Petrie, Eduard Naville and Theodore M Davis, Carter made several significant early finds, including the tombs of Thutmose IV and Hatshepsut – the latter, in 1903 within chamber KV60 in the Valley of the Kings, yielding a mummy many today believe to be the great queen herself. His work, even then, was that of a methodical and tenacious excavator. By the time he discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, Howard Carter had been excavating Egyptian antiquities for three decades. It took Carter and his team a decade to catalogue and empty the tomb.
Harry Burton the Photographer
Harry Burton was born in 1879 in Stamford, Lincolnshire and was the son of a cabinet-maker. The fifth of eleven children, Burton went to live with Robert Cust, a local gentleman of independent means who saw to his education. Cust was a scholar of Italian Renaissance art and eventually moved to Florence, taking Burton along as his secretary. Whilst in Florence, Burton took up photography. There, he met a very wealthy American named Theodore Davis, who had a particular passion for funding excavations in Egypt. As WWI began, Davis was near death, but recommended Burton to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, who then employed him in Egypt. He remained in post until his death in 1940. Burton was the only photographer permitted to work inside the tomb during the excavation. Burton took two views of each area, one showing all the objects in place and another after numbered cards had been placed beside each object, assigning it a reference number. Burton used glass-plate negatives, and each exposure took several seconds or even minutes. Burton then processed the negatives in a darkroom set up in an adjacent tomb. His negatives are so large and fine that they surpass the detail of most high-resolution digital photographs.
Did you know?
- Carter’s patron, Lord Carnarvon, died 4 months after first entering the tomb, leading journalists to popularise a ‘Curse of the Pharaohs’, claiming that hieroglyphs on the tomb wall promised swift death to those who disturbed King Tut.
- Tutankhamun’s parents were brother and sister, and King Tut’s wife, Ankhesenamun, was also his half-sister. Their only two daughters were stillborn.
- Apparently the king had an infected broken leg, and DNA from his mummy revealed multiple malaria infections, all of which may have contributed to his early death.
- The pharaohs who followed King Tut chose to ignore his reign, as despite his work restoring Amun, Tutankhamun was tainted by the connection to his father’s religious upheavals.
- Tutankhamun wore orthopaedic sandals as he had clubbed foot. He also had large front incisors and a huge overbite – a characteristic of his family.
- Tutankhamun loved ostrich hunting
There used to be a sign on the road into the West Bank town of Bethlehem: ‘Welcome to Bethlehem, home of Jesus of Nazareth!’ In that one sign, the particular historical details of Christmas, and the often confusing nature of them, are laid bare. Christmas marks the birth of a person who existed historically, but the details of whose birth, life and death are not completely clear. The relationship between the historical events and the meaning of those events, ascribed by those who were there and those who came after, is a fascinating one: there is a creative leap between them that invites a meditation on the relationship between time and eternity.
As far as the time part of the equation is concerned, not even the date of Jesus’ birth is clear or agreed. It is true that all Western calendars start from his birth. Does that mean that we are now two thousand and twenty-two years away from the event itself? Well, not really. The latest calculations are that Jesus was actually born perhaps three years earlier, possibly in the autumn of that year. So, the specific time and date are not accurate in the way that a journalist would want them to be. Nonetheless, the timing, the history, the events are important as far as they can be reached at this distance.
Christian theology calls this the ‘scandal of particularity’. That is, it matters that there is a historical context, a Roman governor, a place in the world, a political and social situation into which Christ is born. It matters that Jesus was born under occupation, that when he was only a few days old he had to be taken across the border into a safer country. It matters that his father, Joseph, was an artisan, probably a carpenter, and a stonemason, and may well have been working with his son, as the latter grew up in the Galilean town of Nazareth, commuting to the nearby Roman city of Sepphoris, which was being built at that time. All of these details are anchoring and theologically, as well as historically compelling. But even without religious faith, the meaning of a historical event is evident only after some time has passed. Time shot through with eternity is the way that Christian faith understands human life – any human life.
In this year‘s Christmas stamps, this eternal perspective is physically illustrated in details, such as the gold of the angels’ wings and the intensity of the gaze between Gabriel and Mary (what one poet has described in the paradoxical phrase, ‘endless afternoon’). It is at Christmas in particular that the boundary between time and eternity seems more porous than ever, almost translucent.
Ordinary people hear ethereal music during a nightshift, and it changes their behaviour: they become energised, enthusiastic. Eternity, somehow breaks through and changes things. Christian thinkers and poets down the centuries, have pondered this mysterious relationship between time and eternity. The 14th century mystic, Julian of Norwich held in her hand, a tiny hazelnut, and thought, as she looked at it, that it contained the whole of the universe. The 18th century poet, William Blake, felt that he could discern all of eternity in one grain of sand. It is a question of scale, of perspective, and of the mystery of human life as we experience it. The theological words for what falls on either side of this thin boundary are immanence and transcendence.
At Christmas, Christians contemplate the birth of a baby in all its contingent messy reality. This is the immanence, the timeliness of the birth in real life. But in contemplating this, they cannot help hearing the echoes of the songs sung for all time: songs of peace, on Earth, of goodwill to all people – eternal songs of hopes song for a present time of suffering.
The black-and-white set of 4 stamps commemorates the HM Queen Elizabeth II with four portrait stamps, each featuring a photograph over the years and which were used in the 2002 Golden Jubilee stamp issue.
These are the first stamp images to be approved by King Charles III.
2nd Class Photograph taken by Dorothy Wilding in 1952. To mark her accession and coronation, Her Majesty The Queen posed for Wilding 59 times, wearing evening gowns designed by Norman Hartnell.
1st Class Photograph taken by Cecil Beaton. The Queen is pictured standing in her admiral’s cloak with her head tilted to the left. Cecil Beaton to this start, simple and direct image of HM The Queen for use in his first major retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery in London. He hoped that the final section of the exhibition would be the highlight and therefore wanted to ‘try something different’ when photographing HM The Queen. There are no familiar regal trappings such as tiaras, jewels or lavish interiors, but despite this simple approach, HM The Queen remains instantly recognisable.
£1.85 Portrait of HM The Queen taken in November 1984 by Yousuf Karsh.
£2.55 Photograph of HM The Queen taken in 1996 whilst she attended a banquet at Prague Castle during her visit to the Czech Republic. It was taken by Tim Graham.