Highlight of the month

The Christmas stamps of the Thorvaldsen Society

The Thorvaldsen Society was the first women´s society  in Reykjavik, founded on the 19th of November 1875.– Young women had been given the task to decorate the Austurvöllur square  when the statue of Bertel Thorvaldsen was erected there. They enjoyed the work so much that they decided to continue their meetings and do some good work.  Their  first charities were to aid children from poor homes and, above all, to help poor girls get some education. The Thorvaldsen Society was on one hand a charity and on the other it was campaigning for the rights of women

Minutes of the society are preserved in the Manuscript Department of The National and University Library and so are also some of the original designs of the society´s Christmas stamps. The Thorvaldsen Society published the first Christmas stamps in 1913 as a fundraising project for various charities and they have thus been published for one hundred years. Many of the Icelandic nation´s best artists have lent the society their paintings or painted special ones to be used on the stamps. They have been released every year except for 1917 when the ship carrying the stamps was sunk during the World War I.  The stamp in the year 1917 was by Þórarinn B. Þorláksson. In the year 1918 it was reused with a new date. The educational fund of The Thorvaldsen Society takes care of the publishing of the Christmas stamps.

Here you can see some of the originals preserved in the Manuscript Department:

1918 Þórarinn B. Þorláksson

1930 - Tryggvi Magnússon

1938 – Ágústa Pétursdóttir Snæland

1956 – Barbara Árnason

1979 – Finnur Jónsson

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