Take a peek at the items behind The Postal Museum's new stamp artwork display with Assistant Curator Georgina.

Issued Stamps

Royal Mail in collaboration with Aardman produced the Christmas stamps in 2010 featuring their much-loved characters Wallace & Gromit.

Image of the miniature sheet featuring the 7 issued stamps and a background with Shawn the sheep playing the violin.

Christmas with Wallace & Gromit, Miniature Sheet 2010

Aardman were tasked to produce scenes that depicted Wallace & Gromit performing their Christmas traditions, such as carol singing, decorating their Christmas tree and most importantly posting their Christmas cards.

Smiler sheet with the issued Wallace & Gromit stamps on a background featuring a homemade printing machine.

Christmas with Wallace & Gromit, Smiler Sheet, 2010

Working with Aardman

This December we set out to dedicate our stamp artwork display in the main exhibition space to a Christmas theme. We contacted Aardman with the hope of borrowing the original sketches by Nick Park (the creator of Wallace and Gromit), which the stamps are based upon. Aardman were extremely accommodating and agreed to loan the original stamp artwork to us. The sketches will be exhibited until July 2019, along with numerous behind the scenes photographs of shots from the Aardman studios.

Sketches

The concept drawings depict Chrismas scenes, which laid the foundations for the final stamps. The sketches also reveal how the composition of the characters was experimented with. You can see how Nick plays with the characters and even sketches small alternative layouts alongside more complete designs.

Pencil sketch of Gromit posting letters into a pillar box.

Original Wallace & Gromit Christmas concept stamp design by Nick Park, in pencil, 2009. Courtesy of Aardman.

These pencil sketches are developed into colour designs and as you can see below are then recreated with the clay models we are so familiar with. Incredibly detailed sets were produced as backdrops for the characters which are minutely visible in the stamps themselves.

A colour sketch of Wallace and Gromit carolling along with a production shot of the same scene.

Original carol singing pencil and watercolour, 2009 & and production photograph. Courtesy of Aardman.

Photographs

Aardman are world famous for their stop-motion animations but for the Christmas stamps they needed to produce 5 still photographs. The process is basically the same but extra attention to detail was required to produce the perfect single image.

Behind the scene production shot of Gromit and Fluffles with the camera taking the image.

Production shot of Gromit and Fluffles by a Christmas tree. Courtesy of Aardman.

We have interspersed these action shots amongst the sketches to show the process of the stamp design and production.

I for one love these Wallace & Gromit stamps and hope that Royal Mail collaborates with Aardman in the future to again produce such creative and humorous work.

From all of us here at The Postal Museum, Merry Christmas.

– Georgina Tomlinson, Assistant Curator