Every Friday we’re inviting our experts and guests to share a letter to something they love linked to the post.

Dear Unadopted Artwork, 

No matter what anyone says I think you’re amazing. You might not have been the design chosen to become a stamp, but your artist spent time painstakingly making you. I appreciate your worth and am very privileged to be able to work with you. 

It must be hard to fight for your position. With stamp design being a competition there will always be someone that loses out. However, my job lets me find your hidden designs and make them available for the world to see.  

So here, in this short letter, I just wanted to take a bit of time to remind you how much I enjoy you. 

Sometimes you surprise, me you really do. When I started working at The Postal Museum, I didn’t really know much about stamp design and did not expect to find artwork at actual stamp size. I just thought artists painted and technical people reduced the size to fit, but not all. Your designs produced by Barbara Brown of King Arthur and Merlin are AMAZING. The amount of detail I can see in these small figures is incredibleNot what I ever expected. 

Barbara Brown Unadopted Artwork of King Arthur and Merlin for the Arthurian Legends Stamp Issue, 1985.

Some of your work I only discover when people make enquiries. Your designs by John Thirsk for the Famous Trains issue of 1985 are paintings I would have on my walls. Especially your image of Box Tunnel in Wiltshire. My grandad lived in Box most of his life and it’s just down the road from where I grew up. have stood exactly where this view was painted from waiting for a steam train to come through. Reminds me of home.  

John Thirsk Unadopted Artwork of Box Tunnel for the Famous Trains Stamp Issue, 1985.

So, I just wanted to say thank you, for being that exciting part of my job. When I open boxes, you are the unknown I never expect but always hope to find.  

I can’t wait to get all your information and images up online so that everyone can enjoy you as much as I do.  

Take care my forgotten friends. 


Deputy Curator (Philately) 

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