Béquet's book

It does look rather as if each and every book on stamp engravers is in French, but that's probably just because there are so many French engravers and they're usually so well-documented too. And so we move on to the next one: Pierre Béquet - Artiste graveur en taille-douce.

And it's not even really a book, it's more like a collection of folded leaves with information, written by Pierre Béquet himself, and lavishly illustrated with his work. Béquet was an artist rather than 'just' a stamp engraver so much of this book focuses on non-stamp art, but it's still great to discover the man's inspirations and education and to read about his journey towards his own style.

And of course there's plenty to read about stamps as well. He features his most favourite stamp: the 1972 French stamp to mark the 200th anniversary of the discovery if the Crozet Islands and Kerguelen. Although most of hist stamp information is general, he does include a whole page of large illustrations of some of his stamps, so I can only assume that these are among his favourites as well.

One of the stamps he showed was the 2000 'Hobbs' issue for the French Southern and Antarctic Territories. It's a lovely stamp (and I say that as a cat person!) but what's even better is that I found a large engraving by Béquet of this very same dog, which I presume went with the original stamp issue. This engraving is almost A4 size, which is impressive enough, but it's so great to see that the large engraving is so similar to the tiny one on the stamp.

Béquet's definitive work also features in the book of course. The book includes an illustration of a lovely engraving based on the original concept. This engraving is actually part of the philatelic document accompanying the definitive series. It's a thing of beauty and easily obtainable, so get it! Note how, originally, Béquet had wanted to keep the portrait uncoloured.

Finally, the book focuses on a Marianne design which never came to fruition and on another of his Mariannes which features on a 1990 French resistance stamp. I don't have that one yet so can't show it to you but it would make a great conclusion to a display of his Mariannes!