Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin and Yinka Shonibare are among six artists commissioned by Royal Mail to create bespoke stamps to celebrate 250 years since the Royal Academy was founded.The UK postal service is commemorating the Royal Academy of Arts’ (RA) milestone with a set of postage stamps featuring original artworks by six Royal Academicians.As well as the works by Perry, Emin and Shonibare, specially commissioned designs have also been created by Norman Ackroyd, Fiona Rae and Barbara Rae.
Each artists’ stamp is designed to be a reflection on their own work, and the RA’s annual Summer Exhibition, which has been held annually since 1769.According to Royal Mail spokesperson Philip Parker, the newly issued stamps are “wonderful miniature works of art.”Emin’s stamp, entitled Saying Goodbye, features a sketchy watercolour painting of two faces, while Perry’s stamp takes the title of Summer Exhibition, and depicts himself in the form of statues and paintings exhibited at the RA.Shonibare’s stamp, called Queuing at the RA, features a number of colourful umbrella tops dotted across the gallery’s Burlington House courtyard entrance.
Ackroyd’s work, called St Kilda: The Great Sea Stacs, depicts various rock formations found within an archipelago in Scotland, with Barbara Rae also illustrating a Scottish scene in her Inverleith Allotments and Edinburgh Castle work.Finally Fiona Rae’s Queen of the Sky offers an abstract depiction of birds in flight.The stamps won’t be released until 5 June 2018, but presentation packs are already available to pre-order from the Royal Mail website.Royal Mail previously commemorated the late musician David Bowie by rolling out a set of stamps featuring images of six of his most iconic album covers. More recently, it released 10 stamps celebrating some of the UK’s most famous contemporary architecture from the last two decades.
This year’s 250th Summer Exhibition will be coordinated by Perry, and will open to the public on 12 June 2018. Each year the show sees over 1,000 works by both renowned artists and amateurs displayed side by side across the walls of the RA’s galleries.Also in time for the institution’s 250th anniversary, David Chipperfield Architects has upgraded the RA’s “unloved building” at 6 Burlington Gardens by connecting it to the main building, Burlington House.