A stamp issue on May 24 will mark the bicentenaries of the birth of both Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert.

Born on May 24, 1819, Victoria enjoyed what was at the time the longest reign in British history, from 1837 to 1901. The era named after her witnessed huge social, political and economic advancement, including the creation of a modern postal service.

Born on August 26, 1819, Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha was married to Victoria from 1840 until his death in 1861, and is credited with backing welfare and educational reforms and encouraging industrial innovation, not least through the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Six counter-sheet stamps designed by Webb & Webb chart Victoria’s life through contemporary paintings. An accompanying four-stamp miniature sheet designed by Common Curiosity celebrates the Legacy of Prince Albert through illustrations of four key buildings.

The whole issue was printed in litho by International Security Printers, the sheet stamps in horizontally se-tenant pairs.

1st class QUEEN VICTORIA IN HER LATER YEARS

Head and shoulders portrait of the Queen by Heinrich von Angeli, painted in 1890.

1st class QUEEN VICTORIA & BENJAMIN DISRAELI

The Queen meeting with one of her favourite Prime Ministers at Osborne House, painted by Theodore Blake Wirgman in 1878.

£1.35 QUEEN VICTORIA WITH SERVANT JOHN BROWN

The Queen on horseback, led by her personal attendant John Brown, painted by Charles Burton Barber in 1876.

£1.35 QUEEN VICTORIA WEARING HER ROBES OF STATE

Formal portrait of the Queen painted by Franz Winterhalter in 1859.

£1.60 MARRIAGE OF VICTORIA & ALBERT

A scene from the wedding of the Queen and Prince Albert, painted by Sir George Hayter in 1840.

£1.60 PRINCESS VICTORIA AGED 11

The future Queen as a young girl with her terrier, Fanny, painted by Richard Westall in 1830.

 

MINIATURE SHEET

1st class MODEL LODGE, KENNINGTON

Designed as an improved form of accommodation for poor families, and backed by Prince Albert, the model lodge was built by the Society for Improving the Conditions of the Labouring Classes for the Great Exhibition in 1851.

1st class BALMORAL CASTLE, SCOTLAND

The Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire was purchased as a private residence by Prince Albert in 1852, and he supervised the building of a new castle on the site, a fine example of Scottish baronial architecture.

£1.55 NEW CRYSTAL PALACE, SYDENHAM

The original Crystal Palace was a huge cast-iron and plate-glass structure built in Hyde Park, London, to house the 1851 Great Exhibition which Prince Albert organised. It was relocated to south London in 1854, giving its name to a suburb before being destroyed by fire in 1936.

£1.55 ROYAL ALBERT HALL, LONDON

One of Britain’s most prestigious concert venues, the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington was opened in 1871, having been named in memory of Prince Albert when Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone in 1867.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

The presentation pack includes an illustrated biography of Queen Victoria. Stamp cards and first day covers are available as usual, along with a choice of coin covers and a press sheet of 15 uncut miniature sheets.

 

PRICES

Set of 6 stamps   £7.30

Miniature sheet   £4.50

Presentation pack   £12.60

Press sheet    £74.25

Stamp cards   £4.95

First day cover (stamps)   £9.35

First day cover (mini sheet)   £6.00

Coin covers   from £19.95

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   5/5

Queen Victoria holds a special place in the hearts of British people, not least philatelists

QUALITY OF DESIGN   3/5

The selected paintings of the Queen include some great works of art which are seldom seen

WOW FACTOR   3/5

It is to be hoped that royal history has more impact on the public consciousness than comic-book superheroes