Royal Mail's Christmas stamps 2023: How Yorkshire inspired Royal Mail's Christmas 2023 stamps
Tom Duxbury, who lives “a low-profile life” in High Eldwick near Bingley in West Yorkshire, said the announcement today was the culmination of more than 18 months of work.
"I am delighted,” he said, “I can’t wait to see the stamps in reality. I imagine there will be millions of stamps sold through December with my work on them.
"And people might not realise it but the settings are actually very much Yorkshire. I am Yorkshire through and through and the backgrounds are unmistakably Yorkshire.”
Mr Duxbury, 34, has been a professsional artist since leaving university in 2011. “I like to be low profile,” he said. “For me, it’s all about the art. That’s what is important.”
A set of five festive stamps are on sale, containing images inspired by the themes of Christmas carols and featuring a lyric from carols O Holy Night, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, Silent Night; Away In A Manger and We Three Kings.
The stamp designs were created exclusively for Royal Mail by illustrator Mr Duxbury, who specialises in the medium of woodblock printing to depict both vintage and modern scenes.
He has worked on many book covers, including Philip Pullman’s Serpentine and The Collectors.
The set of stamps is the first Christmas issue to feature the silhouette of the King.
David Gold, Royal Mail’s director of external affairs and policy, said: “For many, the launch of the annual Christmas stamps is the signal to begin writing those Christmas cards.
“The charming style of these designs, which were inspired by the carols that are so familiar to us all, set the perfect tone for the festive season.”
Tom Duxbury said: “’It’s been a privilege to illustrate the first set of Christmas stamps to bear the silhouette of His Majesty King Charles III. The theme of nativity became a chance to create rich, luminous nightscapes.
“They echo my own experiences of being out in nature at night – especially the moors where I live. This time and place holds a special kind of feeling; that of stillness, softness, and magic.”
The barcodes on this year’s Christmas stamps will allow customers to watch a seasonal themed video created for Royal Mail by the award-winning Aardman studio. The video features Shaun the Sheep and his friends sending some festive cheer to the farmer’s dog.
The first Christmas stamps, issued in December 1966, were the result of a children’s art competition announced by the then postmaster general Tony Benn.
Royal Mail is encouraging customers to order online gifts and shopping well in advance, and to post their festive greetings early, to help its staff deliver the bumper festive mailbag.
Its latest recommended posting dates for mail to arrive in time for Christmas are December 18 for second class, 19th for first class and 22nd for special delivery guaranteed