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...
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.
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...