Sunday, 6 May 2007

Jeffrey Matthews Stamp designer

Someone could write a book on the work of Jeffery Mathews, he has done so much over the years for collectors of Machins, and has certainly put his mark on the designs of Stamps from Great Britain.

This will just be short lowdown on some of his achievements and as usual your comments are welcome.

Jeffrey Matthews began his career in the late 1940s and is one of Britain's leading graphic designers. His earliest commission for the Post Office dates from 1959 and his first adopted design was issued in 1965 commemorating the 20th anniversary of the United Nations.
In conjunction with his wife who worked under the pseudonym Charity Boxhall, he has worked on a large range of philatelic products.

Apart from significant work on the Country's range of definitive stamps he has made a particular contribution to the design of special stamps on royal and heraldic themes including, the 1984 'Heraldry' issue, and the 1998 'The Queen's Beasts'. One of his most important designs was for the Double Headed Penny Black Definitives of 1990, which celebrated the 150th anniversary of the world's first adhesive postage stamp.

He was also instrumental in the design of the Regional Machins or country definitive stamps as they are known.

Stamp Show 2000


One of my favourites is this miniature sheet shown above.


The Royal Mail celebrated the Stamp Show 2000 on 22 May 2000. A miniature sheet was issued featuring eight stamps illustrating the colour palette of designer Jeffrey Matthews. The Jeffrey Matthews Colour Palette was started in 1984 in order to return stamps to the original concept of a light tone for the Queen's head on a solid background. This sheet comprises of eight stamps in colours from his palette: 4p, 5p, 6p, 10p, 31p, 39p, 64p, and £1.00 and two pictorial labels.

The upper pictorial label features the shield and crest of the Post Office while the lower is a visual pun of the Jeffrey Matthews palette showing the eight colours of the definitive stamps along with the JM-monogram.The miniature sheet was printed by De La Rue Security Print.

1 comment:

larry said...

Don't forget the numerals! Just before he did the colors, Matthews designed a new typeface for the Machins. The old numerals were too big to have a value like 20 1/2, so Matthews designed thinner numerals. A little known fact is that not only did he design each individual numeral, but he also did the pairs of numerals for each new value, presumably to make sure that the spacing and placement were correct.

Matthews also designed the horizontal version of the Machins that was used for the initial trials of self-adhesive Machin booklets and coils.

You could say that Matthews designed more of the current stamp than Machin did. In fact, Royal Mail does say this. Recently, it says that the Machins were "designed by Jeffery Matthews based on a portrait by Arnold Machin."

It would certainly be nice if someone did a book about his philatelic work.