Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Sweden 1960 - Gustaf Fröding

Gustaf Fröding is arguably one of the best poets that Sweden has ever produced. He was born on 22 August 1860 in Alster outside Karlstad in Värmland. His poetry, which was occasionally written in his own dialect, had a quality which translates well into music. In fact, many Swedish bands have done just that. Recently the Swedish band, Mando Diao, wrote a song for their album, Infruset, with lyrics adapted from Gustaf's poetry. In his poetry, Gustaf was very candid about relating his addiction to alcohol and his problems with women. It was as a result of these problems that Gustaf was put on trial for obscenity. He was to spend a large portion of his later life in mental institutions, desperately trying to fight the demons of alcoholism and womanising. He wrote much of his work while institutionalised. In the end, Gustaf found a semblance of happiness in the care of his nurse, Signe Trotzig. Apparently, when he moved out of hospital she remained with him till the day he died, 18 February 1911.

Gustaf in 1896


On 22 August 1960 Sweden issued a set of two stamps commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Gustaf Fröding. The chosen design was engraved by Czeslaw Slania. A single design was used for the issue with two different values.

The 30o red brown. This stamp was issued in both vertical coils and booklets of 20. The example below is from a vertical coil.

The 1.40k slate green. This stamp was issued in vertical coils.

I have to say what draws my eye on this stamp design is the beard. Those of you who are regular readers of my blogs know I am connoisseur of engraved beards. And this one is a beauty. Just look at that thing - gnarly and full of life! And it seems that Gustaf's beard had significantly thickened out since the photo shown above.

Until next time...

Stay Slania Crazy!

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