Design firm has stamp issue covered

A STAMP and coin cover jointly issued today by the Royal Mail and the Royal Mint to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in Britain features the work of an East Anglia-based design and branding consultancy.

A STAMP and coin cover jointly issued today by the Royal Mail and the Royal Mint to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in Britain features the work of an East Anglia-based design and branding consultancy.

Silk Pearce, based in Colchester, has designed the envelope, insert card and postmark for the cover which features a set of six stamps carrying contemporary portraits of six of the most prominent anti-slavery campaigners and a new two pound coin minted to mark the anniversary.

To identify appropriate supporting imagery for its designs, Silk Pearce consulted organisations including Anti-Slavery International, which continues to campaign against all forms of slavery, the Merseyside Martime Museum, reflecting the port of Liverpool's role in the transatlantic slave trade, and the Wilberforce House Museum in Hull, dedicated to the leading abolitionst William Wilberforce.

The design of the cover was inspired by text from a 200-year-old poster calling for the abolition of slavery, which is on display at the Wilberforce House Museum, while the insert card features examples of West African skills in carving, pottery and metal working.


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The Liverpool postmark depicts a tall-masted ship, symbolic the vessels in which slaves were transported from West Africa to the Americas where they were off-loaded for sale and put to work as slaves. The ships then returned to Europe with goods such as sugar, coffee, tobacco, rice and, later, cotton, all of which had been produced by slave labour.

Silk Pearce designer Harvey Lyon said: “Royal Mail, who led this joint project with Royal Mint, really challenged our design team to ensure we devised an informative and creative solution that accurately and sensitively reflected this controversial period of British history.”

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Melanie Williams from Royal Mail added: “We specifically chose Silk Pearce for this important anniversary because of their careful attention to detail and commitment to investing time in understanding the subject area.

“The designs not only reflect on what is still, understandably, a highly emotive issue but also thoughtfully and accurately communicate the issues and feelings from 200 years ago.”

Silk Pearce has worked closely with both the Royal Mail and the Royal Mint for many years. Its current projects including designing miniature sheets of stamps for “The Four Countries of the United Kingdom” series that is being rolled out over the next four years to celebrate the national identities of Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The next set, celebrating England, will be issued this year on St George's day, April 23.

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