Notes from the Past

Charles Heath

Charles Heath was the engraver commissioned to engrave the original die for Great Britain's Penny Black in 1840.  For many years it was thought that he did in fact do the engraving, but it is now believed that the work was largely done by his son, Frederick.

The die was engraved from a drawing by Henry Corbould of a commemorative medal by William Wyon marking the Queen's first visit to the City of London on November 9, 1837.

L. N. and M. Williams (The Postage Stamp, Penguin Books, London, 1956) state that the fee for the engraving was paid to Frederick and that although Charles had received the assignment, failing eyesight prevented him from doing the work.

In any event, the Penny Black is a masterpiece of the engraver's art and reflects a period of craftsmanship that has seldom been equalled since.

- Kenneth A. Wood
This is Philately - Volume Two G-P
Van Dahl Publications 1982
Posted May 26, 2000

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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