Home Culture Art The Gull Spreads its Wings Again

The Gull Spreads its Wings Again


The 1924 flying pigeon stamp is one of the icons of Dutch postal history. An equally special precursor appeared three years earlier: the airmail stamp with the seagull. This bird comes to life again almost a hundred years later on the Netherlands Stamp Day 2019 stamp sheetlet.

Both the pigeon and the seagull are the work of the multi-talented Dutch artist Chris Lebeau (1878-1945). As a tribute to Lebeau and his work, Birza Design produced the image for the stamps on which the seagull spread its wings once again.

The 1921 Gull stamps were the very first airmail stamps issued in the Netherlands. The printing technique, woodcut in letterpress printing, was also special. The Netherlands Stamp Day 2019 stamp is a modern-day Birza Design representation of Chris Lebeau’s original woodcut. The two designs are seen below.

Netherlands 1921
Netherlands 2019

For Stamp Day 2019, the designers were asked to make two stamps. This allowed them to spread the wings of the gull over two adjacent stamps. The printing technique used for the stamps is just as striking as that from 1921. No more than two colours – red and green – were used to print the stamps in PMS. With PMS (Pantone Matching System) it was possible to match the colours of the new stamps with the original stamps.


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