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United Kingdom 2006 "150th Anniversary of the National Portrait Gallery"

Issue Date 18.07.2006
ID Michel: 2420-2429 Scott: 2393a Stanley Gibbons: 2640-2649 Yvert:  UPU: GB063.06 Category: Dw
Author Peter Willberg
Stamps in set 10
Value 1st Class – Portrait of Winston Churchill by Walter Richard Sickert, © Estate of Walter R Sickert 2006 all Rights Reserved, DACS/National Portrait Gallery, London
1st Class – Sir Joshua Reynolds by Sir Joshua Reynolds, National Portrait Gallery, London
1st Class – Thomas Stearns Eliot by Patrick Heron, © Estate of Patrick Heron 2006 All Rights Reserved, DACS/National Portrait Gallery, London
1st Class – Emmeline Pankhurst by Georgina Brakenbury, National Portrait Gallery, London
1st Class – Virginia Woolf by George Charles Beresford, National Portrait Gallery, London
1st Class – Walter Scott by Sir Francis Chantry, National Portrait Gallery, London
1st Class – Mary Seacole by Albert Charles Challen, courtesy of Helen Rappaport/National Portrait Gallery, London
1st Class – William Shakespeare attributed to John Taylor, National Portrait Gallery, London
1st Class – Dame Cicely Saunders by Catherine Goodman, National Portrait Gallery, London
1st Class – Charles Darwin by John Collier, National Portrait Gallery, London
Size (width x height) 27x37mm
Layout Sheets of 30 and sheets of 60 stamps
Products FDC x MC  PP x1

 Gum: VPA, Phosphor: Bars as appropriate

Perforation 14x14
Print Technique


Printed by De La Rue Security Print
Issuing Authority Royal Mail of Great Britain


The National Portrait Gallery houses an immense collection of portraits featuring some of Britain’s most significant subjects. With 9,000 portraits of famous men and women and boasting a phenomenal archive, library and technology gallery the NPG acts as a pictorial ‘Who’s Who’ of British history.

The images selected for the stamps are drawn from a full historical time span, and show a balance of people from different areas of life including a politician, a writer and an artist. The stamps also show the wide variety of different media that are exhibited in the gallery such as portraits in sculpture, watercolour, oil painting and photography.

Royal Mail’s design team worked closely with the NPG to establish a final shortlist which was passed on to designer Peter Willberg, who has previously worked on the 2005 Jane Eyre issue featuring Paula Rego’s haunting lithographs.

Included in the stamp issue is the most famous image of William Shakespeare, which has a special significance as it was the first portrait the Gallery acquired.

Also featured are less well known images, such as the charming portrait of Marry Anne Seacole and the rare oil painting of Emmeline Pankhurst.

To keep the labelling as simple and uncluttered as possible, the stamp features the name of the subject and the name of the gallery.


1st Class – Charles Robert Darwin

Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882), Naturalist, geologist and originator of the theory of evolution. Sitter in 30 portraits.

This portrait of Charles Darwin, the great scientist and author of On the Origin of Species, is a copy by the artist of a portrait undertaken by John Collier for the Linnaean Society. Collier was himself the son-in-law of another prominent late Victorian scientist, Thomas Henry Huxley. The portrait was presented to the Gallery by Darwin's eldest son, William Erasmus Darwin, who wrote to Lionel Cust in 1896: 'The picture is a replica of the one in the rooms in the Linnaean Society and was made by Collier after the original. I took some trouble about it and as a likeness it is an improvement on the original.' It shows Darwin as an old man in the year before his death. According to Darwin's third son, Francis, 'The portrait represents him standing facing the observer in the loose cloak so familiar to those who knew him and with his slouch hat in his hand. Many of those who knew his face most intimately, think that Mr Collier's picture is the best of the portraits and in this judgement the sitter himself was inclined to agree.'


1st Class – Sir Winston Churchill 

Without doubt one of the most significant figures of the 20th century, this portrait of Sir Winston Churchill perfectly captures his grim determination. Secker’s painting of the great Prime Minister wreathed in smoke was apparently not liked by the man himself, although perhaps this was because it was too close to the truth, as the portrait was well known for its similarity to the sitter..  

1st Class – Sir Joshua Reynolds 

It is most fitting that this portrait of Sir Joshua Reynolds be included as he was the first President of the Royal Academy, and his annual ‘Discourses’ to the students remain an important component in the teaching of artistic history. Reynolds was more responsible than any other for raising the status of artists in Britain.

1st Class – TS Eliot 

Heron’s semi-Cubist portrait of Eliot is both stylistically innovative and intellectually demanding, much like the author himself. Elliot is known for classic works such as The Waste Land, The Cocktail Party and Old Possum’s book of Practical Cats, a book of light verse, which was the basis of the Musical show Cats.

1st Class – Emmeline Pankhurst

Founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union with her daughter Christabel, Emmeline Pankhurst was the leader of the militant movement for women’s suffrage. She was imprisoned for her beliefs and actions on several occasions, as was the portrait’s painter, Georgina Agnes Brackenbury, who was also involved in militant suffrage activity.  

1st Class – Virginia Woolf

The only photograph in the set, this was taken in 1902, just as she was embarking on her career. It is unusual as she was normally averse to sitting for portraits and being pictured. The photo shows her looking pale and contemplative. 


1st Class – Sir Walter Scott

This bust of Sir Walter Scott was the result of several sittings by the renowned novelist and poet for the sculptor, Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey. The sittings were appropriately social occasions which always included breakfast, and when it was finished Chantrey presented Scott with the marble as a token of his respect and friendship.

1st Class – Mary Seacole

This is the only known painted portrait of Seacole in existence, and had been used to back another portrait until it was discovered by an observant dealer.

1st Class – William Shakespeare

Probably the most famous and significant playwright this country has ever seen, this is the only portrait of him that has a real claim to have been painted from life. Attributed to John Taylor, it is often known as the Chandos portrait after its original owner.

1st Class – Dame Cicely Mary Strode Saunders

 The most recent painting in the set, Dame Cicely sat for this portrait over 22 times, many of which were during her struggle with cancer. As founder of the hospice movement her contribution is without doubt, and she is a modern addition to this collection of our country’s most significant faces.


 Special postmarks announced for the Day of Issue.

 Official post marks. 

Philatelic Bureau official postmark for the National Portrait Gallery stamps 18 July 2006.

London WC2 official postmark for the National Portrait Gallery stamps 18 July 2006.

London WC2 official non-pictorial postmark for the National Portrait Gallery stamps 18 July 2006.

Royal Mail will produce special postmarks for the issue date.

Tallents House, Edinburgh Postmark

A pictorial postmark from Royal Mail Tallents House, 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9PB will be used for the issue. The reference number for the Tallents House, Edinburgh pictorial postmark is as follows:-

First day of issue: Tallents House, Edinburgh Ref No FD 06 25

As an alternative to the Tallents House, Edinburgh postmark, pictorial and non-pictorial (plain design) LONDON, WC2 postmarks will also be available for this issue. 

National Portrait Gallery is the full title of the 18 July 2006 issue and LONDON, WC2 chosen as the postmark because it is the location of the gallery.

All first-day-of-issue postmarking offices will be supplied with the alternative pictorial first-day-of-issue postmark. This will mean that all first day covers posted at the Post Office® counter will be cancelled with the same pictorial postmark regardless of where they are posted.

LONDON WC2 Pictorial Ref No FD 06 26
LONDON WC2 Non - Pictorial Ref No FD 10 26NP



Ref FD625
Official Philatelic Bureau FDI postmark

Ref FD626
Official London WC2 FDI postmark

Ref FD625N
Official London WC2 FDI non-pictorial postmark


 Another (private) post marks


postmark showing circular Union Flag.

 Postmark showing Sir Winston Churchill.  postmark showing artist's brush. postmark showing entrance to the National Portrait Gallery, London. postmark showing female portrait.
Ref L10136
The Great Britons, British St, London EC3

Ref L10154
International Churchill Society, Churchill, Oxford

Ref L10129
From Paint to Pixel, Bletchley Park Post Office Milton Keynes

Ref L10116
National Portrait Gallery Celebrates 150 Years, London WC2

Ref L10117
The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, London SW1

postmark showing Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London.

postmark showing Walmer Castle.

postmark showing National Portrait Gallery.

postmark showing Sir Joshua Reynolds, born at Plympton, Devon.

postmark showing Sir Rowland Hill.

Ref L10120
150th Anniversary NPG, Southwark, London SE1, showing Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

Ref L10121
150th Anniversary NPG, Walmer, Deal, showing Walmer Castle

Ref L10122
150th Anniversary NPG, Trafalgar Square, London WC2, showing the Gallery

Ref W10129
150th Anniversary NPG, Plympton, Plymouth showing Sir Joshua Reynolds

Ref M10126
Rowland's Road, Birmingham

postmark with formal frame, text as below.

postmark showing artists' palette.

postmark with text as below.

postmark with text as below.


Ref L10123
Great Britons on Canvas, St Martin's Place, London

Ref L10124
National Portrait Galery, St Martin's Place, London WC2

Ref L10125
National Portrait Galery, 1856-2006, London WC2

Ref L10128
Portraits on Pub Signs, London WC2



Official issues


Presentation Pack

Medal Cover

The First Day Cover Envelope was designed by Andrew Ross and printed by Smurfit Print UK. The filler card was also designed by Andrew Ross with photography by Nick Turpin and written by John Cooper. It is printed by Fulmar Colour Printing Company Ltd.

The fully illustrated Presentation Pack comprises a full set of the ten National Portrait Gallery stamps. The pack was designed by Andrew Ross with typically enigmatic photography by Nick Turpin and written by John Cooper. The Pack is printed by Walsall Security Printers.


Limited in number these unique Medal Covers are designed with the collector in mind. This pack features a specially commissioned and distinctively designed medal approved by the National Portrait Gallery, to mark its 150th anniversary. The medal itself features a portrait of Shakespeare on one side and an edited version of the Carlyle quotation on the other.

Stamp Cards



Ten postcards bearing an enlarged image of each of the National Portrait Gallery stamps go on sale 11 July 2006. They are printed by Fulmar Colour Printing Company Ltd.




Some Private FDC issues



   Norvic Philatelics     Natural History Museum
Royal Mail of Great Britain  Presentation Pack



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Latest update 04.11.2012

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