Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Faroe Islands 1978 - National Library

1978 was the 150th anniversary of the Faroe Islands National Library. Czeslaw Slania engraved a set of two stamps to commemorate this event. In case you are interested the Faroe Islands are part of the kingdom of Denmark. The 18 island archipelago is located in the North Atlantic Ocean between Iceland and Norway.

The National Library of the Faroe Islands has a rather interesting history. It is a public library for residents of the island, and it is also used as a research library. The library is home to the largest collection of works written in Faroese. The library was the brainchild of the Danish governor, Christian Ludvig Tillisch, who in 1828, along with his Amtsrevisor, and Danish scholar, Carl Christian Rafn, began assembling works, creating the 'Faroe County Library'. The collection rapidly grew to over 2,000 volumes, and by 1830 the library had its own building. The library's first decade was a great success. by 1850 the collection grew to 5,000 volumes. But due to a change in funding the library went into a long period of decline. In fact, it wasn't until 1921 that it once again began to flourish under the linguist, Mads Andreas Jacobsen, who also was a trained librarian. The library was even used as a rallying point for national writers and politicians during the Faroese Language Conflict. Perhaps it is not out of place to imagine clandestine meetings around a table in a dark corner of the library, the participants talking in hushed voices as the light from the lone candle on the centre of the table danced over their faces... Or perhaps not :)

In 1931 to library moved into another building. This is where the first of Slania's two stamps enters the picture. In 1937 Danish artist, Flora Heilmann, produced a watercolour painting of the National Library. Try as I might, I haven't been able to find an image of that painting. If one is interested, apparently a poster sized print of the painting can be purchased from the library. Anyway, I digress. It was this painting that Slania used as his model for the first stamp in the library set. I have no idea what the colour painting looks like, but Slania's monotone stamp is simply stunning.

Fast-forwarding to 1980, we find the library in a different building again. this time a purpose built building. Personally, I'm not much of a fan of boxlike industrial architecture so I'm not all that inspired by the building that houses the present library. Slania's second stamp in the set captures this building in all its - well - glory, I suppose! What do you think?

Just as a bit of an addendum, as of 2013, the country now has 18 municipal libraries and 13 school libraries, and an Art Muesum library and a few others.

Until next time...

Stay Slania Crazy!

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