Sunday, 23 April 2017

Iceland 1988 - Stamp Day

Today our Iceland journey is coming to an end. But what a ride it has been! Over the last few weeks we have been virtual passengers on the 1836 Gainard expedition. This expedition set off to explore Iceland and Greenland on the ship La Recherche. The leader of this expedition was Paul Gaimard, a French Naval surgeon and naturalist who wrote about the expedition in a nine volume work entitled: Voyage en Islande et au Groënland. This series, which included many illustrations, was then considered the definitive study of the islands. Another participant of the expedition was Auguste Mayer, a French artist who taught drawing at the École Navale. Mayer provided many gorgeous illustrations for Gaimard's book. 

So far we have visited thee Hvita River, where we have watched a group of people ford the river with their horses. To journey back to the Hvita River again, click HERE. Next we set sail for the trading village, Djúpivogur and its rugged mountain vistas. To drop anchor at the trading port of  Djúpivogur and say hi to the residents, click HERE

The final leg of or journey takes us to the farmlands of Núpsstadur, where farmers have been braving the tumultuous conditions since the 17th Century. What sort of dwellings did these intrepid folks live in? Auguste Mayer managed to capture the charm of some of these "very" rural properties in a lovely piece of art, reproduced in Paul Gainard's book, as mentioned above. But more on that in a moment. To whet the appetite, I found a great photo of one of these old farm houses.


On 9 October 1988 Iceland issued a Souvenir Sheet for Stamp Day. This was the third year in a row that such a Souvenir Sheet was issued to celebrate Stamp Day. As with the other two issues in 1986 and 1987 this Souvenir Sheet was engraved by Czeslaw Slania. The design is based on the artwork of Auguste Mayer.

This design is truly sumptuous! It is a feast for the eyes wherever they roam: from the craggy, cloud-shrouded mountains in the background to the wonderfully detailed farm scene in the foreground. 

Walking along a stone path we come to a series of farmhouses covered in earth for protection against the harsh conditions. Then we are greeted by the locals, enjoying a bit of banter. What are they discussing, I wonder? Perhaps the weather? Or maybe even discussing a recent batch of mail? Whatever the case, we are compelled by this beautiful piece of art to sit, wonder, and ruminate on the lives of these remarkable people.

As I mentioned above, this is the last Iceland issue engraved by Czeslaw Slania. And what a stunner! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time exploring the captivating wonders of Iceland. Honestly, I'm a little sad to be leaving it behind. But all good things must come to an end. What was your favourite Slania Iceland stamp? I'd love to hear your views.

Until next time...

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