Seahorse High Values
He created an image of Britannia driving a chariot through the waves, based on classical sources and, probably, the current stamp designs of Barbados. This was immediately known as the ‘Seahorses’ design. Mackennal’s original sketch and revised artwork for the Seahorses issue were produced between September 1910 and March 1911.
When the original design was shown to the King he made a number of detailed suggestions and proposed that the stamps be printed in recess (or intaglio printing, whereby the paper is pressed into the engraved recesses of the printing plate containing the die). This gave a better appearance than that of the letterpress low value definitives. All his suggestions were adopted and the four values made their appearance in June 1913, printed in recess by Waterlow Brothers & Layton. Engraving was by J. A. C. Harrison and the initial plates were made by the Royal Mint. We have dies and rollers for these in the philatelic collection but no plates as these were destroyed at the time.
There followed a succession of different printers for three values only (the £1 was not reprinted) until 1934 when the dies were re-engraved.