Proposed Edward VIII Coronation Issue Artwork

The accession of King Edward VIII resulted in ambitious plans from the Post Office, including suggestions for Accession stamps, new definitives, and a Coronation series.

Once the new definitives were well underway, thoughts turned to the Coronation.

Three low values, ½d, 1d and 1½d, were proposed, showing the King in the uniforms of the three Armed Services. The higher values of 2½d and 2s 6d were to show pictorial designs of Royal residences. The 2s 6d stamp was to be line-engraved, while the others were to be printed by photogravure.

Design Process

King Edward VIII agreed to the idea of Coronation stamps featuring Royal Castles at a meeting on 10 March 1936, requesting the designs to be kept as simple as possible.

The work of progressing designs was entrusted to the stamp printers, Harrison & Sons, as it was felt approaching several artists had not previously worked well. There were difficulties deciding the size of the stamps, and finding suitable photographs of the King and the castles. While ideas were being considered, the Post Office received artwork for a Coronation medal for the Royal Mint featuring a portrait of the King by Percy Metcalfe.

At a late stage the Royal Fine Arts Commission was brought into the discussions. As a consequence Eric Gill was invited to develop the designs so far considered. From the results, the Commission favoured using the Metcalfe head, which being shown crowned was appropriate for the Coronation.

The King’s abdication on 11 December 1936 brought the whole exercise to an abrupt end.

Essay of the ‘G’ design
Essay of the ‘I’ design
Essay of the design by Eric Gill
Pictorial essay of St James’s Palace