The stamps of St Helena, an island located in the south Atlantic Ocean, had been printed by letterpress by the De La Rue printers, located in London since 1890. Most of their stamps featured the standard colonial keyplates, interspersed with some issues in a larger format, featuring Government House or The Wharf in a vignette below the reigning monarch's head.
Against the grain, but reflecting the remote island's individuality, it was decided that this format should be retained for an entirely new definitive series issued in June 1922. It was a late flowering of De La Rue typography, at a time when intaglio pictorials were in fashion seemingly everywhere else.
The design was the work of Thomas Bruce, a staff artist at De La Rue. The King’s profile appeared in a medallion at the top, flanked by the inscriptions 'Postage' and 'Revenue', with the denomination in shields in the top corners and the island’s name across the bottom of the stamp.
The medallion surmounted a horizontal vignette, rounded at the sides, depicting the badge of St Helena: a frigate lying at anchor in the lee of two vertiginous rocks, known as the King and Queen, on the approach to Jamestown harbor.
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