Eight decades of public life and massive mounds of photographic records later, the task of finding an image to celebrate the milestone 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II is a task more daunting than most might think.
Pouring over heaps of research and hundreds of photographs, stamp designer Jeremy Linskill and art director Glenda Rissman of q30 design inc. honed in on an image that resonates with spirited warmth and candid informality. The image was captured by Victor Pilon, a Montreal-based photographer engaged by the Department of Canadian Heritage, which is responsible for the organization and delivery of Royal Visits to Canada by Her Majesty The Queen and Members of the Canadian Royal Family. Pilon, a veteran of 27 Royal Visits to Canada by Her Majesty The Queen and Members of the Canadian Royal Family from 1984-2002, is well-known and respected as an artistic director, photographer and set / visual art designer. His work has appeared in several galleries, the collections of the Canada Council Art Bank and the Library and Archives Canada. That image graces the new commemorative Queen domestic rate (51¢) January 12 release, as well as a special April 21 international rate ($1.49) issue celebrating Her Majesty's actual birth date.
The Queen sports a green suit and hat and carries a bouquet of flowers in the original photograph taken at RCMP headquarters in Ottawa during her 2002 visit to Canada. "We close-cropped the image," explains Linskill, "blurred the background of attending Mounties, and drew colour from the traditional red RCMP tunic to brighten the background and make the image stand out."
For extra depth and dimension, adds Rissman, "a green tint was used along with the traditional four-colour printing process to accentuate Her Majesty's outfit."
Larger than typical domestic rate definitive formats, this celebratory image of the Queen measures 32 mm x 27 mm. The stamps are self-adhesive, printed on Fasson paper and available in booklets of 10. The booklet cover features a sequence of photos spanning the years from the Queen's youth to the present day. The booklet also includes miniature floral stickers that can be used to seal or add extra appeal to envelopes.
The 2006 Queen issue also includes a souvenir sheet of two international rate stamps to be issued April 21st to coincide with the Queen's actual birthday. All in all, these stamps and collectibles are a memorable tribute truly fit for the Queen.
For more information about the Royal Family and the Queen's birthday celebration, visit www.royal.gov.uk.