Isle of Man Stamps & Coins commemorates the Battle of Clontarf, a turning point in Irish history

Isle of Man Stamps and Coins is pleased to present a set of six stamps to mark the millennium anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf. Due for release on April 15th, this commemorative sheet brings the historic events to life through the dynamic paintings of Victor Ambrus and evocative text from Dr Howie Firth, one thousand years after the great battle.

The Battle of Clontarf was fought outside Dublin on Good Friday, 23rd April 1041 and marked a turning point in the history of Ireland, stemming the power of the Norse and Danes.

In the text that accompanies the sheet, Howie provides a short but detailed narrative account of the dramatic events leading up to the demise of King Brian Boru and the conquest of his armies and territories in Munster.

Howie’s narrative also includes select quotes and insights from expert chroniclers of the period and their accounts refer to King Brian Boru as a hero figure that brought years of peace, stability, commerce and learning to 11th century Ireland.

The stamps use six different renderings that are representative of war. The images created using watercolour and ink capture the stark brutality and ferocity of war and colour is applied in a bold and brash manner. Images are action led and show different scenes, various scenes from the battle as well as individual profiles including Brodir the Warrior and the portrait of the Earl Sigurd’s mother Eithne.

Commenting on the stamps Dr Howie Firth said: “It’s tremendous that the Isle of Man Post Office is marking the 1000th anniversary of an event that has resonated through the centuries in stories and sagas. The battle affected the lives of so many people and communities, from Ireland and Man to Orkney and Iceland. The sea route from Norway down through the Irish Sea and on the Mediterranean was one of the great trading highways of Europe at the time, and the Isle of Man was part of the complex mix of commerce and politics.

The stamps are beautiful, capturing the swirl of the battle when the two armies clashed on the land between the Liffey and the Tolka on Good Friday 1014. It’s good to think of the shared appreciation in art and story bringing people together to remember those who lived and died at Clontarf.”

Maxine Cannon, General Manager, Isle of Man Stamps and Coins said: “Victor Ambrus has produced some amazing images that capture crucial events in the thousand year old shared history of the Isle of Man, Ireland and the Orkney Isles. The Battle of Clontarf is a key event in history that has shaped the future of Ireland and of course the Isle of Man. These stamps pay a great tribute to the memory of the battle and King Brian Boru. We are very pleased to be able to offer our collectors such an important piece of history.”

Island of Culture 2014 and stamp collection exhibition launched

On Monday afternoon Isle of Man Stamps and Coins and key representatives from the Post Office attended the official launch of the Island of Culture 2014 and stamp collection exhibition at the Villa Marina. The exhibition available to the public includes a collection of stamps reflective of eight cultural topics and will last for three weeks.

The collection produced and exhibited by Isle of Man Stamps and Coins showcases its latest issue which has been designed by Manx artist Juan Moore in addition to those with island links produced in the last 40 years. The exhibition is split into the eight themes in line with the latest issue – dance, drama, music, literature, visual arts, design, film and craft.

Towards the end of the launch event Geoff Corkish MBE MLC, Chairman of Isle of Man Post Office presented Hon Clare Christian BSc President of Tynwald and Patron of Island of Culture 2014 with a framed, commemorative set of the stamps with artwork produced by local artist Juan Moore. The stamps are the Isle of Man Post Office’s contribution to Island of Culture 2014.

Geoff Corkish MBE MLC, Chairman of Isle of Man Post Office commented: “2014 will be a vibrant and highly celebratory year. Events held over the duration will be a chance for everyone to celebrate our island of culture through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, cultural festivals, film and digital innovation and lay a lasting legacy for creativity on the Isle of Man. Juan Moore’s fabulous and outstanding Island of Culture stamp issue further adds to the celebrations. The stamps were specially created and show eight aspects of Manx culture.”

Michael Lees, Island of Culture Director said: “The Island of Culture 2014 stamps are iconic. Juan Moore the Manx artist who was commissioned to design these stamps has caught the imagination in his designs. They depict all aspects of the arts in a way that will appeal to all generations. I am delighted that they have gone on sale throughout the world and will arouse an interest worldwide. His daily blog throughout 2014 will continue the interest in his work and Island of Culture.”

To view and order the Island of Culture stamps please click here

A video introduction with interviews about the stamp issue and Island of Culture 2014 can be viewed here

Island of Culture 2014 will be marked with a set of new stamps

A year-long festival of the arts will be staged in 2014 to mark the Island of Culture and coinciding with the launch on January 6 will be the release of a celebration issue of stamps.

Born and raised in the Isle of Man, Juan Moore is a talented Manxman with degrees in illustration and computer animation respectively. His artwork has found acclaim in exhibitions featured in Cornwall, Wales, London, France and New York. Some of Juan’s artworks are part of both the Isle of Man Arts Council’s collection and the Manx National Art Collection.

His latest work will feature on a set of stamps to celebrate the Island of Culture having been commissioned to produce the new artwork celebrating eight cultural topics – dance, music, drama, literature, visual arts, design, film and craft, by Isle of Man Post Office. The stamps are Isle of Man Post Office’s contribution to the lasting legacy of the Island of Culture 2014 and Juan admits having his work showcased in this way is a real honour.

“It feels so good to have my artwork on the Island of Culture stamps. Art is always something that people have an opinion on and I hope my work will be noticed on these stamps. It is important to me that my work is not only thought-provoking, but that it is accessible to everyone. One of the aims of my work is for it to be as understood by not only those from an art background, but for someone who knows nothing about it” he said.

Juan added: “I generally get my ideas for my art from everyday life and once I have an idea I just paint. I’m a big fan of the white page and don’t always know where my journey is going to take me and what the end result is going to be like until I get painting. I love having something physical at the end of it and I’m really looking forward to seeing the actual stamps when they are issued in the New Year.”

Maxine Cannon, General Manager Isle of Man Stamps and Coins said: “We are delighted to be involved in the Island of Culture and our set of eight stamps, kindly designed by Juan, will be launched in conjunction with the actual launch of the festival on January 6. Culture means different things to everyone but there is set to be something to suit every taste throughout 2014, with a colourful spectrum of events planned by the Isle of Man Arts Council to celebrate the richness of our Island and its cultural scene.”

To view the Island of Culture stamps and to pre-order please click here.

Winter flora features on first miniature sheet of 2014

The talented work of Island-based artist Catherine James is showcased in the first miniature sheet of stamps of 2014.

The stamps capture the beautiful flora of the winter months from rose-hips, red holly berries, fir cones, hellebores to frost-lined ivy leaves.

From a very early age Catherine has enjoyed the love of painting. Being the seventh child in a family of eight children, Catherine found it difficult to be heard amongst the constant chatter so tended to say very little but read as many books as she could find and made drawings on any available paper and spent as much time as possible in the woods and fields of Santon.

In the text which accompanies the miniature sheet Catherine reflects on how bleak the Manx winters can be, wet and cold and how “Manannan’s mantle of mist” can make it difficult to see further than the bottom of the garden. She remembers waking up on many a winter’s morning to windows limned with frost patterns (before central heating) – a magical transformation with the sight of hoar frost-edged leaves, rusty bracken, teasels and sea holly all set against a backdrop of winter lace trees with the glowing colours of rose hips in the hedges. She also recalls the beauty of bright red holly berries with their shining spiked leaves and ivy bowers bearing beautifully aligned fruits that ranged in vibrant colours throughout the cold season.

Commenting on the stamps Catherine said: “I felt very privileged to be asked to design the stamps for the miniature sheet. There is so much beautiful flora in the winter and it’s lovely to highlight this in the stamps. Yes a Manx winter can be cold and dark, but it can be incredibly beautiful. Seeing my artwork in its final form as a miniature sheet is very rewarding indeed.”

Maxine Cannon, General Manager Isle of Man Stamps & Coins said: “We were thrilled Catherine agreed to design one of our first stamp issues of next year. Her artwork radiates a real wintery feel of the flora that surrounds our Island at this time of year however the colours it displays adds a warm, gentle glow.”

To view the Winter Flora miniature sheet and to pre-order please click here.

Christmas stamps are a celebration collection of Post Office history

A look back at the Isle of Man Post Office’s 40 year history entitled ‘A Christmas Stamp Gallery’ is the subject of this year’s Christmas stamps.

The set of six stamps depict Christmas stamps from years gone by showcasing a variety of aspects of Christmas from the Three Wise Men, stained glass windows, Winter birds, churches in the snow to Christmas trees.

Maxine Cannon, General Manager, Isle of Man Stamps & Coins said: “This year we felt it would be a fitting postal tribute in itself to feature designs selected from our portfolio of Christmas issues as a celebration collection in our 40th Anniversary year. There have been a significant number of Christmas stamps produced and it was a difficult task to select just six to make the issue. However we feel they capture a little bit of everything when it comes to Christmas and what it means to so many.”

She added: “I’m sure it will be welcome news to our customers that the local and UK stamp values will be available in self-adhesive form this year – perfect for those people who send a lot of cards! They will be available in both sheets and booklets.”

The overall issue has been designed locally by Emma Cooke of EJC Design who said: “This issue presented the perfect opportunity to revisit some of the beautiful Christmas Stamps that have been issued by Isle of Man Post Office over the last 40 years. With 162 previous Christmas Stamps to choose from, it was quite a challenge to narrow the selection down to just six stamps. I think the final selection makes a lovely set and I’m looking forward to seeing them on the Christmas post that comes through my letterbox.”

‘A Christmas Stamp Gallery’ will be officially issued on October 17. For an exclusive look at the stamps please watch our video
You can also pre-order the stamps online here

Designer Emma Cooke of EJC Design with the collection of Christmas stamps issued over the past 40 years

Designer Emma Cooke of EJC Design with the collection of Christmas stamps issued over the past 40 years

 

‘Magical’ murals showcased on new miniature sheet of stamps

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The work of renowned Manx artist John Miller Nicholson is showcased in a new stamp issue by Isle of Man Post Office in the centenary year of his death.

St Thomas’ Church in Douglas is one of the town’s most hidden treasures. Behind the exterior of the church located on a busy main road lies an awe-inspiring interior decoration of murals hand-painted by a house painting business based in Douglas ran by John Nicholson and his brother James in 1896. So much of what was portrayed was symbolic, such as the vertical decoration on both gables representing the Tree of Life. In the chancel there are angles, musical and flying. The Archangel Michael is shown fighting a many-headed dragon, representing the devil, whilst Archangel Gabriel brings news to Mary that she is to be the mother of God.

Meanwhile either side of the arches in the nave religious symbols abound with the Ark of the Covenant, Golden Candle Stick and the Table of Shewbread. The four evangelists appear as a man, lion, ox and eagle. Next comes the lamb, pelican and dove – being well known representations of the very foundations of truths of the Christian faith.

St Thomas’ Church was designed by Ewan Christian, an architect of Manx decent, who chose the architecture of the 12th century for its style. It opened on 1st August 1849 and in 1882 Canon Savage was appointed to St Thomas’. A keen antiquarian with knowledge of church architecture, he put forward the idea that the church would be enhanced if the walls were decorated in a form appropriate to its style of architecture and so transpired the relationship with self-taught artist John Nicholson.

Often signing his work ‘J.M.N’, John Miller Nicholson was born in Douglas on the 29th January 1840, the son of William Nicholson, house painter and decorator. He was an excellent draughtsman who developed his skills as an apprentice with his father’s firm and through meticulous study of life in the colourful, bustling streets of Victorian Douglas.

Today the murals have undergone some restoration to protect their beauty and are a must-see for anyone who is a fan of Nicholson or indeed is intrigued to see what artistic heritage is in store behind those church doors.

Commenting on the miniature sheet of stamps Reverend Brady of St Thomas’ Church said:

“The stamps are wonderful and they reflect the historical nature of St Thomas’ Church. The murals are almost like hidden gems as many people don’t even know they exist. To have this magnificent artwork showcased in postage stamps is a real delight for our church – the murals are magical and there’s no other church like it for its architecture and internal decoration on the Island.”

The St Thomas’ Church Murals miniature sheet collection is released on August 8 but to view them and to pre-order please click here

Photo: Reverend Ian Brady with the St Thomas’ Church Murals miniature sheet of stamps

Isle of Man Schools Chess Congress

 

IOM Primary School Chess  Congress

IOM Primary School Chess Congress



Why not order our recent Lewis Chessmen Stamps issue? Click here: http://ow.ly/hrppF

We recently visited the IOM Primary School’s Chess Congress, where we watched children competing against each other representing seven of the Island’s primary schools.

Isle of Man Schools Chess Congress

Harry Minor, chess coach for the Island’s schools said: “This year’s Chess Congress went very well. The children played some really good chess and were very well behaved. Next year I hope to see a few more members and to encourage some more girls to take part especially as there is a new trophy for the best girl player. I’d like to thank everyone involved and to the staff and parents for supporting and to Rushen School for hosting.”

Isle of Man Schools Chess Congress

As well as trophies for the winners and runner-up, Isle of Man Stamps & Coins kindly donated sets of the Chronicles of the Kings of Man & the Isles & the Lewis Chessmen stamps, first day covers and presentation packs as prizes.

Isle Of Man Schools Chess Congress