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An innovative design technique that disguises human faces as clouds provides the background to the aircraft celebrated on Royal Mail's Architects of the Air stamps on sale from Tuesday (June 10).

The five Special Stamps pay tribute to the partnerships between the great designers and aircraft manufacturers that produced some of the most advanced military aircraft of their time. The stamps are launched to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Roy Chadwick, designer of the Lancaster bomber that played such a significant role in winning the Second World War.

The First Class stamp remembers Chadwick, chief designer at Avro, the company that built the Lancaster. The famous plane is surrounded by blue sky and white clouds, but take a second look and the clouds reveal the subliminal image of Chadwick himself.

The Chairman of Royal Mail's Stamp Advisory Committee, Adam Novak, said: "Like the aircraft they depict, the stamps use a ground-breaking design technique that is a fitting tribute to the revolutionary planes they celebrate."

The designs are the work of Bruce Duckworth of Turner Duckworth whose creative designs were prompted by a distorted fax image that masked the features of the aircraft designers and gave them the cloud-like appearance.

Other partnerships featured on the stamps are: RJ Mitchell and Supermarine's celebrated Spitfire - the plane that helped win the Battle of Britain - features on the 20p stamp: RE Bishop and the de Havilland company are celebrated on the 37p stamp which depicts their light fighter-bomber, the Mosquito: George Carter and the Gloster Meteor fighter are on the 43p stamp and Sidney Camm who, as chief designer with Hawker developed the Hunter fighter, is featured on the 63p value.

Mr Novak said: "Each one of the aircraft featured on the stamps was unique and revolutionary in its own way. The Architects of the Air were the trail blazers for today's modern aircraft designs. Even Concorde's famous raked wings were influenced by Chadwick's delta-wing aircraft designs.

"It is a fitting tribute from Royal Mail that these great aircraft will again take to the skies as they wing their way across the world on the nation's mail."

  • A presentation pack of the stamps from post offices features architectural drawings from some of the aircraft featured on the stamps. It includes background information about the designers and their aircraft by aircraft enthusiast and one of the UK's leading architects, Sir Norman Foster, whose new hanger for the Imperial War Museum at Duxford Aerodrome will be opened by Her Majesty The Queen in August.

Note to Editors:

A photograph of the stamps is available from The Post Office site on PA News' Bulletin Board.

SOURCE The Royal Mail

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