Cley artist’s birds on new stamps

Millions of pictures by a North Norfolk artist will flock across the country today, as a new set of postage stamps.

Six first class stamps feature bird portraits by Cley-based artist Robert Gillmor.

The man who devised the RSPB's avocet logo has been busy illustrating no fewer than four sets of postage stamps devoted to Birds of Britain.

Two series of garden birds have proved so popular that a scheme originally intended for just 30 of the self-service Post and Go machines in the biggest post offices across the UK is now being rolled-out in all 146 centres - including Norwich's Castle Mall.

The latest stamps are studies of mallard, greylag goose, kingfisher, moorhen, mute swan and great-crested grebe.

And the final set - due out in September, a year after the first - will be devoted to Sea and Shore Birds of Britain: namely puffin, gannet, oystercatcher, ringed plover, cormorant and Arctic tern.

Mr Gillmor has been entirely responsible for the composition of the bird stamps, save for the placing of the Queen's head and the caption - the preserve of designer Kate Stephens.

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He is also currently working on his 49th jacket design for the Collins New Naturalist library featuring a Shropshire landscape.

But Mr Gillmor draws deeply on his adopted county of Norfolk, where he moved with his wife, artist Susan Norman, in 1998.

'Norfolk is extremely important to my work and provides the inspiration for all my limited-edition prints,' he says. 'I have just produced a linocut of a brooding avocet based closely on a drawing made at the RSPB Titchwell Reserve.

He found the stamps 'a most enjoyable commission'. The size of the finished picture meant too much fine detail was 'pointless', he said, but added: 'I like to simplify and clarify and lino is an excellent medium for this. Bold areas of flat colour work well and fortunately most of the birds were fairly unfussy in plumage.'

Mr Gillmor is busy with another Royal Mail commission, for three further sets of beastly portraits details of which have to remain secret for the moment.

*Robert Gillmor's new bird stamps can be bought at Norwich's Castle Mall Post Office, in Castle Meadow Walk, and also online - www.royalmail.com/stamps - or from Royal Mail Tallents House, 21 South Gyle Crescennt, Edinburgh EH12 9PB (08457 641 641).