Stamp celebrating Robertson Davies designed in Wolfville

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Graphic designer Steven Slipp  with Robertson Davies’ last novel,  The Cunning Man. Slipp has designed a stamp commemorating the author. 

By Sara Ericsson

A Wolfville graphic designer was commissioned by Canada Post to design a stamp commemorating Robertson Davies.  The stamp will be launched Aug. 28 at Massey College in Toronto

Slipp spent months researching Davies, who was a unique figure in Canada’s literary community.

“You really have to immerse yourself in your research,” he said. After rereading Davies’ novels and other literary works and pouring through biographies, Slipp began drafting design concepts for the stamp.

The choice of artwork for the stamp was not a difficult one, he said. Slipp chose a Yousuf Karsh portrait of Davies, whom Slipp felt paralleled Davies’ national success as Canada’s greatest portrait photographer

Slipp also chose Karsh’s portrait because of his own memories of viewing the work.  

“I knew Davies primarily through Karsh’s series of portraits,” he said.

The portraits portray a dynamic, intellectual man. Indeed, Davies’ career spanned many areas that might foster such a character. At different periods of his life, Davies was a playwright, a novelist, a critic, a journalist, an editor and a founding member of both Massey College and Stratford Theatre Festival.

This stamp will mark the 50th anniversary of Massey College, of which Davies was a founding members, as well as the 100th anniversary of Davies’ birth.

Slipp has been commissioned to design 13 stamp subjects since 1985 and says assignments for Canada Post are “some of the most demanding work I’ve been involved in.”

He added he would love nothing more than to continue designing them.

“These are all projects that hone my skill and challenge me conceptually. When I design these stamps, I’m working at the top of my craft.”

Included in the designs Slipp created for the Davies’ commemorative stamp are the stamp, an information booklet, and the First Day Cover, which accompanies the stamp on its launch

Slipp served two terms on Canada Post’s stamp advisory committee, from 2002 to 2008, as Atlantic regional design manager and was responsible for recruiting designers from Nova Scotia.

 

Organizations: Massey College, Canada Post, Stratford Theatre

Geographic location: Wolfville, Canada, Toronto Nova Scotia

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  • Deb Pollock
    August 30, 2013 - 10:07

    Congratulations Steven! I keep four or five of Davies' books of essays as well as The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks on my bedroom bookshelf. Never tire so them. Can't wait to see the stamp!