Guernsey Stamps announces the release today (8th May 2012) of commemorative stamps to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, who was born in Portsmouth on 7 February 1812.
The six stamps depict some of George Cruikshank's original illustrations for Oliver Twist. Considered to be one of the greatest illustrators of his time, Cruikshank was one of the artists with whom Dickens personally collaborated.
From the earlier chapters of Oliver Twist the 36p stamp shows Mr. Gamfield, a chimneysweeper, who has agreed the sum of three pounds and ten to take Oliver as his apprentice. Seeing the terror on Oliver's face as he is about to sign the paperwork, the local magistrate spares him. A further illustration depicts charity boy Noah Claypole, a cowardly bully and sneaky character who mistreats Oliver and eventually joins Fagin's gang (47p).
Further illustrations include Oliver with The Artful Dodger and Charley Bates, who make Oliver polish their boots whilst trying to convince him to become a thief (48p); having been rescued for a second time, Fagin and Oliver's evil half-brother Monks track Oliver down to the Maylies' pastoral residence, appearing suddenly before the boy's eyes before disappearing (52p); and Nancy meets Rose Maylie and Mr Brownlow, who had earlier taken Oliver in, on London Bridge. A suspicious Fagin has ordered Noah to spy on Nancy (61p).
From the final chapters of the book, and completing the stamp set, is the image of Oliver and Rose Maylie visiting the old village church where, within the altar, stands a white marble tablet which bears the word ‘Agnes': mother of Oliver and sister of Rose Maylie (65p).
Dawn Gallienne, head of philatelic at Guernsey Post, said: - "We are delighted to be able to use George Cruikshank's original illustrations from Oliver Twist to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, who remains one of the most celebrated authors of all time."