I've just come back from a few days in France, visiting my all-time favourite sister-in-law who lives there. She was so kind as to give me all the engraved French stamps issued in 2017 so far for my birthday. Cool, innit?!

The selection includes some great stamps. Most importantly it includes the first French stamp engraved by Sophie Beaujard, portraying Germaine Ribière. Sophie is a well-known figure in stamp designing and has been for some years, but this is her first outing as an engraver of French stamps. In fact, it could well be that this is her first engraved stamp, period. I don't know of any stamps she may have engraved for the French territories, so there you go. With a dad being a famous stamp engraver as well, yes, she is Yves Beaujard's daughter, it may be a bit confusing, though. Are all the Beaujard without initials signed stamps by the dad? It does look like more recent examples of the Beaujard clan do include either a Y or an S to make the distinction clear. But I must research that a bit more whenever I get the time.

What I'm certain of is that she engraved the most recent engraving for Art du Timbre Gravé, on a Dutch theme, so that one can now thankfully go into my collection as well.

On the other side of the spectrum we find a stamp engraved by Pierre Albuisson, portraying Maurice Faure. The one thing I noticed, and have noticed before, is that the new group of engravers rather fancy the outlined portrait. I've no idea whether that's the mark of a relative beginner, or whether it is a style choice, or what. But note the lines around the Ribière portrait above. Then look at Albuisson's work and see how the engraving seems to be more natural. The hair especially is wonderfully well done. I'm not always that keen on the dot engraving style, though. I quite like the more traditional lined engravings.

Anyways, by far the best one of this lot was a stamp engraved by Sarah Bougault, whom I've never featured before, and shame on me for that. I think this is a brilliantly engraved stamp on the theme of wrought-iron work, part of a series of various types of art. Just look at how she engraved the large object on the right. See how she has made it so that it looks as if it shines. Pure magic.

She has also engraved this sheetlet on the Battle of Vimy Ridge, which is another one engraved very well I think. This is a joint issue with Canada, but as far as I am aware, the Canadian issue is not engraved. But if any Canadian readers know differently, do let me know!