Christmas 1991
 
            18 November 1991          20c, 80c, $1.30, $1.80                     Mint and CTO        $4.10
                                                                                                             FDC                       $4.60

Technical Details

        Release Date:                    18 November 1991
        Tablet Values:                   20c, 80c, $1.30, $1.80
        Artist:                                Jennifer Toombs
        Printer:                              The House of Questa Limited
        Process:                            Lithography
        Paper:                               CA Watermark
        Stamp Size:                       30.56 x 38.00 mm
        Perforation Gauge:            14 per 2 cm
        Pane Format:                    50 (2 x 25)
        Mint and CTO:                 $4.10
        First Day Cover:               $4.60


Since 1979 we have released a set of Christmas stamps every third year.  For the 1991 issue we were extremely fortunate that the Crown Agents Stamp Bureau commissioned Jennifer Toombs to prepare designs of the Traditional Nativity for she decided to provide "an unusual slant on the Christmas theme" as she said in the notes covering her original 'thumbnail' sketches.

As you know, the people of Pitcairn derive much of their private income from the sale of hand-made artifacts.  While the men work mostly in wood and produce a range of fine carvings, the women weave baskets, fans and hats from pandanus thatch.  Additionally, the women produce arguably one of the most beautiful curios available on Pitcairn - painted leaves.

Sometimes from the soap-seed tree but more commonly from Bauhinia variegata, known on Pitcairn as the Florida Orchid or, more commonly, Hattie tree, the leaves are soaked in water for three weeks, then washed and rinsed to remove the green fibre before being left to bleach in the sun.  The resulting delicate, almost white skeleton is then painstakingly illustrated with dainty floral designs or scenes depicting the sea.  Mounted on a black background and placed in a firm plastic sleeve, or framed behind glass, painted leaves from Pitcairn draw very favourable comment from all who see them.

It is on representations of these artifacts that Miss Toombs has painted four scenes from the Bible story of Christ's birth to provide her 'unusual slant' on the Christmas theme.