The Royal Mail has released six new Jane Austen stamps today in honor of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice. Designed by artist Angela Barrett, they include illustrations of scenes from the six major novels: Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice as first-class stamps and Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion in other values, and can be purchased through the Royal Mail Shop online. My favorite is the illustration from Northanger Abbey which includes the ponderous chest so mysterious to heroine Catherine Morland.
There are several collectors sets to select from including a special Presentation Pack with additional text by author P.D. James and a First Day Cover pack where the special stamps are affixed to a cover featuring a Jane Austen signature and cancelled with a Steventon, Basingstoke postmark, chosen because it was the home of Jane Austen for many years.
The Royal Mail also announced that letters posted in Chawton in Hampshire, where Austen spent her last years, and Steventon, near Basingstoke, where she was born, will have a special postmark for a week, featuring the Pride and Prejudice quote “Do anything rather than marry without affection”.
Some readers might remember the previous set of Jane Austen stamps that were issued in 1975 in honor of the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s birth in 1775. They were very beautiful too, and now quite collectible. I am pleased to own a set which I display in pride of place on my Austen bookcase. You can read more about the creation of the 1975 stamp set by following the link at the bottom of this post.
Now for your enjoyment here are images of the six new stamps and the quotes that inspired them.
Sense and Sensibility
“On opening the door, she saw Marianne stretched on the bed, almost choked by grief, one letter in her hand, and two or three others laying by her. Elinor drew near, but without saying a word; and seating herself on the bed, took her hand, kissed her affectionately several times, and then gave way to a burst of tears, which at first was scarcely less violent than Marianne’s. The latter, though unable to speak, seemed to feel all the tenderness of this behaviour, and after some time thus spent in joint affliction, she put all the letters into Elinor’s hands; and then covering her face with her handkerchief, almost screamed with agony.”
Pride and Prejudice
“At last it arrested her – and she beheld a striking resemblance of Mr. Darcy, with such a smile over the face as she remembered to have sometimes seen, when he looked at her. She stood several minutes before the picture in earnest contemplation…”
“…pausing a moment for what she knew would not come, for a courage which the outside of no door had ever supplied to her, she turned the lock in desperation, and the lights of the drawing–room, and all the collected family, were before her.”
“She had not been able to speak; and, on entering the carriage, …then reproaching herself for having taken no leave, making no acknowledgement, parting in apparent sullenness, she looked out with voice
and hand eager to show a difference; but it was just too late.”
“So, placing the candle with great caution on a chair, she seized the key with a very tremulous hand and tried to turn it; but it resisted her utmost strength. Alarmed, but not discouraged, she tried it another way; a bolt flew, and she believed herself successful; but how strangely mysterious! The door was still immovable. She paused a moment in breathless wonder. The wind roared down the chimney, the rain beat in torrents against the windows, and everything seemed to speak the awfulness of her situation.”
“It was evident that the gentleman, (completely a gentleman in manner) admired her exceedingly. Captain Wentworth looked round at her instantly in a way which shewed his noticing of it. He gave her a momentary glance, a glance of brightness, which seemed to say, ‘That man is struck with you, and even I, at this moment, see something like Anne Elliot again.'”
© 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose