Friday, July 15, 2016

Eminent Personalities

The Mauritius Post released on 11 December 2013 a set of two commemorative stamps on the theme 'Eminent Personalities' and portraying Hervé Masson (Rs9) and Professor Alexander de Smith (Rs26).

Official FDC with 11.12.13-14 datestamp from Mesnil Post Office.

Rs9 - Hervé Masson (1919-1990), painter and writer

Hervé Masson was born in Rose Hill, Mauritius in 1919 in a family hailing ancestry from Lorraine, France and which settled in the then Isle de France in 1753.

He was initiated to painting as a child and his brother Loys Masson, later on a writer of international repute, was a great source of inspiration to him.

As a young man he rubbed shoulders with famous contemporary poets, writers and journalists like Raymonde de K/Vern, Malcolm de Chazal, Marcel Cabon and France de la Peyre. He was an omnivorous reader and writer and showed keen interest in esoteric literature.

His debut as a painter met with mitigated success and he left for France in 1949. In France he strived hard to improve his art and had to work as journalist to make both ends meet, but never gave up painting. By 1957, his paintings won appreciation in art galleries both in Paris and in New York.

In the wake of the independence of Mauritius, he thought that he could serve his country in politics. Masson served as advisor in the field of Arts and Culture for the Government of Mauritius.

He afterwards returned to France where resumed his former activities and passed away in 1990.

Rs26 - Alexander de Smith (1922-1974), Professor of Constitutional Law

Stanley Alexander de Smith was an eminent professor of constitutional Law and was commissioned to draft the Mauritius Constitution in the mid-sixties; he is considered as the father of the Constitution of Mauritius.

Born in 1922 in London, de Smith received his Doctorate at the University of London in 1959 where he later on taught constitutional Law in various capacity.

He also served as consultant to various Commonwealth countries in the wake of their independence, namely in Nigeria, Ghana and Malaysia.

Professor de Smith paid several visits to Mauritius as part time constitutional Commissioner and his imprint on our constitutional Law is significant.

He passed away during his stay in Mauritius in 1974 and was buried at Le Réduit Cemetery where Governors and other personalities lie for eternity.

A commemorative plate has also been sealed to his memory at the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden.

Unofficial FDC registered at Phoenix Post Office.

Official FDC signed by Anna and Jane de Smith, Prof. Alexander de Smith's daughters, on 6 July 2016 during their visit to Mauritius.

Source: FDC insert

Technical Details

Date of issue: 11 December 2013
 Rs9 - Hervé Masson 
 Rs26 - Prof. Alexander de Smith
Graphic works: Neshvin Ramsawmy
Size:  29.94 x 44.45 mm
Printer: BDT International Printing Ltd., Dublin, Ireland
Process: Lithography
Number per sheet: 50 stamps set in two panes of 25 separated by a gutter
Perforation: 14 x 2 cm
Watermark: w18 - CASCO
Courtesy: Brigitte Masson for photo of Hervé Masson

Friday, July 8, 2016

90th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

On 21 April 2016, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 90th birthday. To mark this milestone, the Royal Mail released a set of six First Class stamps and a miniature sheet comprising four First Class stamps.

Official FDC with Windsor First Day Cancellation.
"A long life can pass many milestones - my own is no exception" - HM The Queen

Queen of the United Kingdom and 15 Commonwealth nations, she is the epitome of duty and regal authority in public, while in private she is seldom happier than when surrounded by her family, preferably in a countryside location.

Miniature sheet bringing together the four existing generations of the Royal Family, from left to right: Prince Charles, HM Queen Elizabeth II, Prince George and Prince William.

Like her favoured surroundings, The Queen's interests and passions have changed little over the years. From childhood to the present day, dogs have been an ever-present feature of Her Majesty's life. Welsh Corgis are a particular favourite, as well as a dachshund-corgi cross known as a 'dorgi'. Perhaps less well-known is her skill at working the gundogs that are bred on her Sandringham estate, some of which have gone on to become champions.

Official FDC cancelled at the University of Bath PO


Horses are another great passion. As well as being an accomplished rider since childhood, Her Majesty has for many years enjoyed success as an expert breeder of thoroughbred horses, with wins recorded in more than 1,300 races. In her Silver Jubilee year, Dunfermline, a bay filly, triumphed in two of the British Classics: The Oaks and St Leger Stakes. The Queen also derives great pleasure from the breeding of Highland and Shetland ponies at Balmoral and Fell ponies at Hampton Court.

Source: FDC insert

From left to right: HM The Queen with her father, c.1930; HM The Queen attends the State Opening of Parliament, 2012; HM The Queen with Princess Ann and Prince Charles, 1952
From left to right: HM The Queen visits New Zealand, 1977; HM The Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh, 1957; HM The Queen with Nelson Mandela, 1996

Technical details:

Date of issue: 21 April 2016
Illustrations (left to right, top to bottom)
 HM The Queen with her father, c.1930
 HM The Queen attends the State Opening of Parliament, 2012
 HM The Queen with Princess Ann and Prince Charles, 1952
 HM The Queen visits New Zealand, 1977
 HM The Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh, 1957
 HM The Queen with Nelson Mandela, 1996
Design: Kate Stephens
Size:  37 x 35 mm
Printer: International Security Printers
Process: Lithography
Number per sheet: 30/60
Phosphor: bars as appropriate
Perforation: 14 x 14.5 cm

Miniature Sheet
Design: Royal Mail
Photography: Ranald Mackechnie
Sheet size: 179 x 74 mm
Stamps size: 27 x 37 mm

Words: Robert Hardman