Stamps of the Arabian Nights, Part 21

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (21 August 1872 – 16 March 1898) was an English fin de siecle illustrator well known for his black-and-white illustrations.  During his very short artistic carrier, a mere 6 years, he became a major figure in Art Nouveau and in the Aesthetic movement.  His work was influenced by the style of Japanese woodcuts but he emphasized the grotesque, the decadent and the erotic.  He died at age 25 of tuberculosis.

Ali Baba

Ali Baba, 2013

Beardsley’s depiction of Ali Baba reflects his decadent proclivities.  This Ali Baba is a grotesquely fat man, dripping with jewels.  He reeks of dissipation afforded by wealth.  From Beardsley we do not see the poor, humble woodcutter who stumbles into adventure and wealth.  Instead, we have an Ali Baba decades after acquiring the entire wealth of the forty robbers.  This is Ali Baba many years after the “lived happily ever after.”  Ali Baba has been living very happily indeed.  Nothing remains of the hard working woodcutter.

St. Vincent & The Grenadines is a small island state in the Lesser Antilles (south of St. Lucia and West of Barbados.)  St. Vincent has a long French and British colonial past.  In 1979 it gained its final independence from Briton.  The islands are subject to occasional volcanic eruptions and frequent hurricanes.

As a British colony, St Vincent and the Grenadines began producing stamps in 1861.  In 1988 the country became a client of the Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation, turning over its stamp production to them.  The IGPC is a philatelic company that represents over 70 different countries in the design, production and marketing of stamps.  The IGPC is not a government department or organization. It is actually a private, for profit business.  This can be seen in the staggering shipping and handling costs it charges to collectors wishing to acquire stamps produced by them. The countries using its services are its customers.

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