Housa does Hollar

I'll let you in on a little secret: If I had ever had a son, I would have loved to have called him Bedrich, as I think that's the most wonderful name. How's that for a pretty irrelevant introduction?! It's just that I have been working on the engravings of Bedrich Housa so that reminded me!

It seems that Bedrich Housa (who is about to celebrate his 90th birthday!) is very closely connected to Vaclav Hollar, the 17th century Prague engraver. Try and google Housa and you'll come across many references to Hollar, including a good number of expositions held in honour of both Hollar and Housa. Hollar must be one of the most celebrated engravers of Bohemia and his work is featured regularly on the stamps of Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic. And it turns out many of these are renderings by Housa.

Wanting to make a display page of one 1972 stamp in particular, which I'll show further on, I thought it would be great to get together all the Housa engravings of Hollar engravings issued in Czechoslovakia. It's quite a good range, starting off in 1969, when Housa engraved a set of stamps depicting old engravings of horses. The stamp portrays the Spanish military leader Don Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba, riding his horse.

A similar set of 1976, this time of ship engravings, included a Hollar engraving of the 'Dutch Merchantman', and the 1983 Period Customs set included a stamp depicting a Lady with Flower.

But, logically, Hollar is mostly represented in the various Art sets issued in Czechoslovakia. The 1975 Graphic Art set even included two of his engravings: Still Life with Hare, and The Lion and the Mouse.

The regular Art series of 1981 included Hollar's View of Prague from Petrin Hill, which, by the way, is the only coloured engraving. I've seen at least one picture of the original engraving in colour as well, so it's not just a whim from the stamp producers.

I quite like the two stamps from 1975, but the two I like most are part of the Art series. One of those is Hollar's self-portrait, which appeared in the 1977 Art set.

Similar in style we have the Lady with Fur Cap. This beauty rightly caught the attention of the general public when it was isued in 1972. It won in two categories of the annual stamp poll organised by Mlada Fronta. It won in the category 'Engraver's interpretation of a work of art' and in the category 'Most Beautiful Stamp'. The first may be the better category for the engraver, but the second category meant that Housa was asked to engrave the customary souvenir sheetlet.

For this, he reproduced the same lady, but giving the engraving the air of a progressive die proof.

Lovely stuff and the stamps are all such beauties that I may well expand into the Czech Republic and make more than one page.



  1. Some lovely stamps there, Adrian. The tall ship is one of my favourites in my sailing ship collection.


  2. Don't hold your breath but there's more ships sailing in soonish!

  3. Great information, Adrian. Thanks for sharing. Like Matt, I love the engraved stamps showing the sailing ships. Beautiful work and beautiful stamps.


    1. Thanks, Jerry! Glad you liked it.

    2. My pleasure, Adrian. I have a worldwide mint collection of engraved stamps and a burgeoning specialized collection of the late Czeslaw Slania of the Swedish Post and all of his works listed in the catalog from the Czeslaw Slania Study Group, when it was still in existence here in the U.S. The catalog is from 2008. I also collect his banknotes and ephemera. I found your blog from a Google search and am so glad I did. I am sure it will be invaluable to my collections. Be well and have a great weekend. :-))

    3. Hi Jerry,
      I just read your comment that you are working on collecting Slania's stamps and banknotes. I have just started collecting him myself, and I started a blog chronicling my collecting journey. Maybe you might like to stop by sometime :) It's called Slania Crazy! There is a link to it in this blog, which Adrian kindly put up.


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