The Isle of Man Post Office is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wordsworth, one of Britain’s best-known romantic poets of all time, by releasing a six stamp collection.
These stamps capture the essence and the appearance of the Island at the time of Wordsworth’s visit to the Island in 1833, and are presented through period paintings chosen in relation to the Manx scenes discussed in Wordsworth’s sonnets that were inspired by the Isle of Man.
Although synonymous with The Lake District, William and Dorothy Wordsworth were strongly associated with the Isle of Man and Manx locations were featured in ‘The Itinerary Poems of 1833’.
William himself only spent four days on the Island during July 1833, as part of his journey to the Scottish islands with his eldest son John and old friend Henry Crabb Robinson.
He expressed an interest in ascending Snaefell and visited Ballasalla, describing it as ‘a little wood-embosomed village by the side of a stream upon which stands the ruined walls of an old Abbey’.
A water-colour of Rushen Abbey, painted during the 1830s and given by William Wordsworth to Thomas Cookson, has latterly been gifted to Tynwald by his descendants.
Wordsworth also spent time in the Castletown area and King William’s College before heading towards South Barrule.
He expressed much delight with Peel Bay and confessed that on the whole he liked the Isle of Man better than he had expected, vowing unsuccessfully, to return with his wife.
He produced ten sonnets about the Island, although one was written by Captain Henry Hutchinson, with one in particular being dedicated to Sir William Hillary (founder of the forerunner of the RNLI).
Extracts from some of Wordsworth’s most famous works are featured on each of the six stamps which form the focal point of this collection.
“We are delighted to announce further plans for Reimagining Wordsworth in the lead up to the national 250th anniversary celebrations.
“Wordsworth the poet was a revolutionary whose work and ideas are still relevant to our lives today.
“By taking a fresh new look at his work, the project will bring his story up to date, welcome old and new audiences both locally and globally and transform Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum into a dynamic destination for creativity, inspiration and enjoyment.”
– Michael McGregor, Director of the Wordsworth Trust
”Working alongside the Wordsworth Trust on this very special Isle of Man themed William Wordsworth stamp collection has been an honour and we are delighted with the finished product.
“We are also very grateful for the support of our issue text author Valerie Caine who has been a wealth of knowledge and provided us with some very vital research on William Wordsworth and his time on our beautiful Island.”
– Maxine Cannon, General Manager Isle of Man Stamps & Coins