Paper Type: Rives Lightweight, 115 m/m-2
Paper Size: 9.5" x 13" [24.13cm x 33cm]
Image Size: 4" x 5" [10.2cm x 12.7cm]
Edition Size: 50
Inks Used: Warm Red : Rubine Red : Black [2:3:0.001]
Date cut: 31 Oct 2014
Production notes: Scan of postage stamp [South Africa, Scott #24] was printed onto parchment tracing paper [Bienfang No. 100]. This was glued [Photo Mount 3M No. 6092] to linoleum block, and cut directly through the paper using stencil cutters under a stereo dissecting microscope [Bausch & Lomb 13x]. Printed as a collage with the postage stamp glued [UHUstic Baton de colle] in the lower right corner.
Drommedaris was issued a number of times, always in bilingual forms: 1) Suid Afrika Posseel-Inkomst, and 2) South Africa Postage-Revenue. Many mixed pairs exist and it seems the stamps were printed in alternating pairs. Collaged stamps use both forms as follows: 1-21 (Suid Afrika); 22-48 (South Africa).
On 6 April 1652 Jan van Riebeeck, Captain of the Drommedaris, landed on the shore of what would someday become Cape Town, South Africa. Accompanied by two other ships, Reijger and De Goede Hoop, his small fleet was dwarfed by Table Mountain and the majestic coastline of South Africa. As an employee of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), he was tasked with setting up a re-fueling station on the coast of Africa for ships to reprovision Company trading ships on their way to the Spice Islands of the Far East.
This landing was the beginning of the first permanent European settlement in the region, and Cape Town soon became the primary beachhead of a Dutch invasion of the continent from the South, and the beginnings of the Boer colonization and domination over the indigenous cultures. The Boer War transferred ownership to the British in a sometimes awkward fusion of cultures.
For South Africans the Drommedaris is as iconic as The Mayflower in North America, and Jan van Riebeeck as historically important as Miles Standish to Americans. It is no surprise, then, that the landing was eventually commemorated with a postage stamp, first issued in 1926, an issue so popular that it was reissued over the next 25 years, now among the most collectible of South African postage stamps. The stamps were issued in Dutch and English language alternate pairs.
With my fascination for ships on stamps, I long wanted to replicate the Drommedaris with a block print, but there was one problem: the stamps most commonly found were printed by rotogravure, a process which introduces a half-tone screen, obscuring the clear lines needed to cut the block. It was, then, extraordinarily hard to cut, and took nearly a month to complete.
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