Finally, after two months of waiting, the new Pottery stamps have arrived. Having been dispatched from Barbados on 2nd November 2022 they finally arrived in the UK on 4th January 2023, a total of 64 days in transit. Given that most Barbados collectors have covers in their collections from the Victorian era when it took around ten days to do the same journey, you have to wonder about the state of the modern postal system.
You may recall that I wrote a post about these back in October last year and, the good news is that the new stamps are worth the wait.
There are four stamps in the set plus a first day cover that accompanies them. The stamps showcase four different types of pottery, all of which are traditional on the island.
The first and smallest value in the set is the 10c, used locally as a make up rate (or for payment of certain taxes on official forms) and it shows an assortment of pottery including a candle house, pasta bowl, breakfast plate, and a mug, all of which have been created through a process of moulding and casting. Some of these items are from the well-known Earthworks Pottery, which is a regular stop for tourists visiting the island.
The second value, for inland letters, is the 65c Monkey Jar. These jars were used traditionally in the home for storing drinking water. They were in regular daily use until the 1960s when mains water became commonplace across the island.
The third value is the $1.40, the current rate for letters to North America, and features candle shades. The shades are created by throwing them on a potter’s wheel then after it hardens, a floral or landscape pattern is cut out by hand. Once fully dry it is fired and glazed giving it a distinctive look and feel.
The top value in the set, for letters to the UK and further afield, is the 42.20 featuring Clay Jars. These jars were originally used on the island for storing and preserving food. Again, it is crafted on a potter’s wheel using the local Barbados terracotta clay.
Finally, the set is bought together on a First Day Cover that shows a view from Chalky Mount down across the east coast of the island, where the Atlantic rollers wash the shore. The view is from Scotland District and this is the area best known for its clay deposits with a red tinge, that gives the local clay such a distinctive look.
Pottery has a long tradition on the island, with roots tracing back to the original slave plantations. Early records from around 1670 show that there were ‘pot houses’ on the plantations, primarily to create tableware for the inhabitants.
In terms of the set, they are definitely worthy of an issue as there is a long and strong tradition of pottery on the island. This is not the first time pottery has featured, as there was an earlier series in 1973, but as it’s now fifty years sine they were issued, it’s perhaps a timely anniversary for this new issue. As a reminder, here’s the original set from 1973;
Today, several potteries operate on the island including Earthworks, Red Clay Pottery, Hamiltons Pottery, Highland Pottery, and Earth & Fire. The images shown in the new stamps are all from Earthworks, Hamilton’s, and Highland, and links to them are provided here.
If you like this set then it is available in the shop here.