The Canadian 10 Cent Small Queen Postage Stamp: Some Brief Notes
The 10 cent Small Queen denomination was issued in November, 1874. It is one from the Victorian period series of stamps that included a ½ cent, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10 cent value. The 10 cent stamps were printed from a single standard 100 subject plate produced by the British American Bank Note Company. A total of 4,267,450 ten cent stamps were issued to post offices The Small Queen Issue was in use for over two decades covering the period from 1870 through 1897.
During the decades long period of use, the ten-cent denomination was printed in a wide variety of shades beginning with a subtle, pale milky rose lilac, through magenta to rose carmine, salmon pink and ending with brown red.
Imagine my surprise upon receiving a special request to produce a painting of one of the 19th century Small Queen stamps of Canada. The painting was to be a special gift to celebrate the 80th birthday of an old friend……as well as acknowledging his long-time interest in Canada’s Small Queen issue.
As a practicing artist for well over 50 years and an admirer of the work of the engravers of the early classics in Canada’s stamps, I’d occasionally contemplated trying my hand at reproducing some of those early stamps in watercolours (incidentally, I consider watercolours to be the ideal medium for this work). Finally, and at long last, in rather quick succession, I found myself faced with the challenge to do not one, but two paintings of stamps which ultimately resulted in four stamp paintings (two of which were personal test subjects; one was of a Newfoundland stamp issued in 1937 commemorating the cod fishery that would go to a collector in Sweden, the other, a request for a painting of a Small Queen stamp! The person who commissioned the latter painting left the decision as to the subject up to me, stipulating only that it be an issue from the 1880’s Montreal printings. After some extensive researching, I focused on the 10-cent denomination for the subject. The reference for this painting was provided by a particularly fine, bright rose lilac example.
I had an inkling that the stamp paintings would present certain challenges so before embarking on the commissions, I thought it wise to make some trials. As an experiment I decided to work from a 5 cent Admiral stamps a subject. The Admiral stamps of Canada were in use during the years 1911 through 1927 and they portrayed King George V. My first effort was not entirely a success and I had not attempted to reproduce the perforated borders of the stamp, but the effort was quite instructive and confirmed that there would indeed be some interesting details to work out. I’m glad for the repertoire of techniques I’ve developed over the years as the stamp paintings forced me to apply some inventive measures to old, trusted methods and techniques.
My goal with the stamp paintings was
to highlight the finesse and exquisite workmanship of the
engravers and printers, who were artists in their own right.
I wanted these
paintings to remain as true as possible in translating their
individual charm and character, because there in lies their
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