Guernsey Folklore depicted on stamps as new gallery opens at island's museum
Stamps celebrating Guernsey Folklore are to be issued by Guernsey Post to mark the creation of a new Folklore Gallery at Guernsey Museum (stamp issue date: 19 July 2017).
The highly illustrative stamps, which depict a selection of fascinating folkloric tales, are the work of artist David Wyatt whose designs are to feature in the new Gallery exhibition, entitled Guernsey Folklore: Old Tales and Ancient Beliefs from the Island’s Past, which opens at the end of June.
Said Bridget Yabsley, head of philatelic at Guernsey Post: - “Folklore has been a large part of Guernsey life for centuries with many stories and superstitions, from fairies and witchcraft to the devil and ghostly goats. The new gallery at Guernsey Museum reflects how intertwined it was in the lives of our own ancestors.
“Over the years many people have written about Guernsey’s unique myths and legends and our latest stamp issue, entitled Folklore of Guernsey, depict just a few of these fascinating tales.”
Fairies play a major role in Guernsey folklore and authors recount tales of creatures with different appearances, personalities and origins, including the Guernsey ‘Pouques’, sometimes referred to as ‘Colins’, which were ugly, dwarfish characters with large heads and a sly nature. The Pouques supposedly lived underground but fraternized with Guernsey people at their homes and farms.
The 44 pence stamp of The De Garis Family and the Pouques shows an image of Pouques, as they ‘borrow’ a cart belonging to a local farmer. It is said that at nighttime the fairies would sometimes request the loan of a cart until the morning, which came with a promise: If we break it we will repair it!
La Palette es Faies - The Fairies’ Bat illustration depicts the moment when Lé Grand Colin slams the ‘bat’ into the ground in a fit of pique, the bat being in fact La Longue Rocque, the largest standing stone on the island (59 pence). The 80 pence stamp, Pierre Dumont and Le P’tit Colin, depicts the moment when Pierre steps into his kitchen, and sees for the first time the small figure whose hand he has held as he has walked home through the dark stormy night.
The 73p stamp – Le Gibet des Faies - the Fairies’ Gallows - shows a different type of fairy and illustrates a sad tale: upset by the fact that the islanders are becoming increasingly detached from nature, the image shows the procession of fairies to the gallows with one fairy carrying a noose made of grass.
The 60p stamp portrays The Fairy Invasion of Guernsey, which is a complex but interesting tale of a defending force as they make a final stand against the ‘invaders’, which have an elf-like appearance.
The striking Le Pied du Boeuf - The Devil’s Hoofprint illustration on the 90 pence stamp depicts the climax of the battle between a local Saint and the Devil, which was said to have occurred at the northernmost tip of the island. As the King of Hell succumbed to the power of Christianity he propelled himself into the air and his heat burnt an impression of his hoof into a solid granite boulder.
The stamps are available to pre-order from 28th June at www.guernseystamps.com or by calling Philatelic Customer Services on +44 (0) 1481 716486.