Friday, 20 January 2017

I Muse ... On a Birthday

On 20 January 1899 the incredibly talented artist, designer and stamp engraver, Pierre Gandon, was born in L'Haÿ-les-Roses in the southern suburbs of Paris, France. His father, Gaston Gandon, was also an extremely talented engraver.

Since today is Pierre Gandon's birthday I thought I'd honour the day by featuring his first issued stamps. For this we need to go all the way back to 1939 to French Morocco. Between 1939 and 1942 French Morocco issued a set of 37 definitives and a set of 7 airmail stamps. Gandon was involved in both sets. He engraved three designs for the definitive set and one design for the airmail set.


The first of the three definitive designs happens also to be my favourite. It depicts a horseman beneath a cedar tree.  This scene evokes for me a fantasy world - a lone rider on a journey, during which he will face many obstacles. I love it. This design comes in three values: 15c green, 20c sepia (pictured below), and 1f brown.


The next design features a shepherd and arganier trees. This design comes in three values: 30c blue (pictured below), 40c brown, 45c blue-green.


The final design he engraved for the definitive set depicts the Ramparts at Salé. This design was more prolific. It comes in seven values: 50c carmine, 50c blue-green (pictured below & issued 1940), 60c greenish-blue, 60c brown (issued 1940), 90c ultramarine, 1f 50c brown-red (1940), and 1f. 50c rose (1942).

One thing I find interesting about this stamp, and I'm not sure if it is a design flaw or just a stylistic quirk. The trunion - the bar that runs perpendicular to the barrel - is conspicuously out of its seat in the carriage. I for one wouldn't want to be behind such a cannon if it fired!


Gandon was also responsible for engraving one of the two designs in the Airmail set. The design comes in four values: 1f. 90 ultramarine, 2f bright purple (1940), 3f brown, and 10f greenish brown. I haven't managed to find myself a copy of any of the values yet, but I did find an image of a lovely cover, which has three of the four values affixed. It is a registered letter to Paris.

Until next time...

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