Monday, 21 August 2017

Faroe Islands 1984 - Famous Writers (Part 3)

A talented writer of poems, fairytales, songs, and even a novel, Hans Andrias Djurhuus was born 20 October 1883 in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands. Hans was the young brother of Janus Djurhuus, the subject of last week's blog post (click HERE).

Han's first job after completing his schooling was working as a fisherman. But fishing was just not in his blood. He hung up the fishing rod and returned to furthering his studies. He attended Føroya Fólkaháskúli, then studied at the Teachers Seminar (Føroya Læraraskúli). After graduating in 1905, he started working as a teacher. This vocation seemed to suit him well. During his years as a teacher he wrote many children's songs, a bunch of plays, short stories, psalms, and even a novel. But poetry was his primary passion. In fact, his great grandfather, Jens Christian Djurhuus (1773–1853), was the first to write poems in the Faroese language. Poetry was in the family's blood. And Hans went on to be considered one of the most productive Faroese poets in the long history of the islands. Very imprressive! 

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On 28 May 1984, Faroe Islands issued a set of four stamps honouring great Faroese writers. This set was engraved by Czeslaw Slania. One of the stamps in this set features Hans Andrias Djurhuus. This stamp - like last week's stamp - exhibits a photo-realistic style synonymous with the engraving genius of Slania. Although, as I mentioned in my previous two blogs dealing with this set of stamps, I tend to prefer more interpretive styles of engraving over photo-realism. There is no denying, however, that they are truly stunning! It's now time to take a look-see at the final stamp of the Famous Writers set, that featuring Hans Andrias Djurhuus.


Until next time...


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Faroe Islands 1984 - Famous Writers (Part 2)

Hailed as  "the first Faroese writer of genius" and "without a doubt a great poet", Janus Djurhuus was born 26 February 1881 in Tórshavn, Faroe islands. Janus and his younger brother Hans, who was also a poet, grew up listening to and being inspired by great Faroese poetry such as Jóannes Patursson's Nú er tann stundin komin til handa (Now is the hour come for acting). You may remember this name from my blog post last week. If not click HERE.

Interestingly, Janus Djurhuus was a lawyer, a profession seemingly at odds with the free-thinking nature of a poet, but there you have it. His first poem, Blíð er summarnátt á Føroya landi was published in 1901 while he was studying at University in Denmark. He completed his studies in 1911 and began practicing law in Copenhagen, where he continued to work for over twenty-five years before returning to the Faroe Islands to practice there. 

In 1914 Janus had a collection of his poems published. This was the first ever collection of poems in the Faroese language written by one author. He went on to publish four further collections of poetry. He was also passionate about Classical Greek literature. He translated and had published many of the Greek greats such as Homer, Plato, and the poet Sappho into the Faroese language.

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On 28 May 1984, Faroe Islands issued a set of four stamps honouring great Faroese writers. This set was engraved by Czeslaw Slania. One of the stamps in this set features Janus Djurhuus. This stamp - like last week's stamps - exhibits a photo-realistic style synonymous with the engraving genius of Slania. Although to be perfectly honest I tend to prefer more interpretive styles of engraving over photo-realism. Not that I dislike these stamps, mind you! They are truly stunning! Let's take a look-see at the Janus Djurhuus stamp.


Next week we'll take a look at the final stamp in this set, so as they say on TV "stay tuned!"

Until next time...

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Faroe Islands 1984 - Famous Writers (Part 1)

Each and every evening they gathered. They gathered by the light of a flickering fire at the old farmhouse of Kirkjubøur to enrich their souls and feed their spirits. To listen to folktales, and to sing and dance. These nightly gatherings were known to local Faroese people as Kvøldseta. This is the environment in which the brothers Jóannes and Sverri Patursson grew up. An environment which perhaps awakened their creative imaginations, leading them both to become writers and activists for their homeland: one a poet and nationalist leader; the other a literary writer and freelance journalist.

On 28 May 1984, Faroe Islands issued a set of four stamps honouring great Faroese writers. This set was engraved by Czeslaw Slania. Two of the stamps in this set feature the brothers Jóannes and Sverri Patursson. Both stamps exhibit a photo-realistic style synonymous with the engraving genius of Slania. Although to be perfectly honest I tend to prefer more interpretive styles of engraving over photo-realism. Not that I dislike these stamps, mind you! They are truly stunning! Let's take a look-see...

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The 200kr stamp features Sverri Patursson. Born in 1871, Sverri was a literary writer, and a composer of tourist articles highlighting the wonders of his homeland. He also worked translating literature into the Faroese language. In fact, he was one of the very first authors to write in the Faroese language.


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The 250kr stamp features Jóannes Patursson. Born 6 May 1866, Jóannes Patursson was a Faroe nationalist who fought to retain traditional Faroese culture and language. He was also an accomplished poet. He even managed to combine his two passions by composing a battle hymn  called Nú er tann stundin komin til handa (Now is the hour come for acting). This was a symbol for the struggle of the Faroese language and culture in a changing world.


Until next time...


Monday, 31 July 2017

Faroe Islands 1984 - Fishing

Cod, mackerel, herring, blue whiting. No this is not Fishing Crazy! These are just some of the fish species upon which the survival of the Faroe Islands depends, and has done so since the middle of the 19th century. Interestingly, for a long time prior to this the primary industry on the islands was based around sheep. The production of woolen socks! Indeed, the name Færøerne in Danish most likely derives from an Old Norse word fær (sheep).

But back to fishing. Beginning around 1856 the primary export of the Faroe Islands became salted cod. It goes without saying that in order to salt said cod it first needs to be caught. Enter the fisherman. Catching cod was no easy matter. Fishermen had to embark on long journeys to the Barents Sea, located off the northern coast of Norway at the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Of course, not all fishermen had to go so far afield. Many species of fish were caught in the North Sea and in Icelandic waters. Over time the industry of fish farming became popular on the Faroes, producing primarily salmon. In fact, the salmon farming company Bakkafrost, which is the largest of the four salmon farming companies in the Faroe Islands, is the eighth largest on the globe!

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On 10 September 1984 Faroe Islands issued a set of three stamps honouring the brave fishermen of the Faroe Islands. The stamps were engraved by Czeslaw Slania. Each stamp has been beautifully rendered to be almost picture-perfect. The delicate mastery with which Slania wields his burin never ceases to amaze me! Just feast your eyes...

The 280o stamp depicts a fishing vessel known to the Faroese as a Slupper.


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The 300o stamp depicts a group of fisherman preparing to haul in the day's catch.


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The 12kr stamp features a ship's captain at the tiller, decked out in his all-weather gear. Check out the detail of those mittens and the tiller rigging. Fantastic!



Until next time...