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Marianne:
a French national symbol, with French definitive stamps

 


La Liberté guidant le peuple” [Liberty guiding the people]
by Eugene Delacroix [La Louvre, Paris]


‘Marianne - a French national symbol’ is one of a group of documents on Republican France
Marianne - a French national symbol, with French definitive stamps

Marianne part 2: town hall statues

the calendar of the French Revolution

france

new : the buttresses and roof of Chartres cathedral illustrated

Germans in France illustrated
St. Quentin cathedral illustrated
Noyon cathedral illustrated
Reims cathedral illustrated
Cambrai cathedral illustrated
Soissons cathedral illustrated
Arras cathedral
cathedral destruction during the French revolution, subsidiary page to Germans in France

on first arriving in France - driving
France is not England

Click for motorways and motorway aires in France.

Transbordeur bridges in France and the world 2: focus on Portugalete, Chicago, Rochefort-Martrou illustrated
Gustave Eiffel’s first work: the Eiffel passerelle, Bordeaux illustrated
a fifth bridge coming to Bordeaux: pont Chaban-Delmas, a new vertical lift bridge illustrated

France’s western isles: Ile de Ré
France’s western iles: Ile d’Oleron

Ile de France, Paris: in the context of Abelard and of French cathedrals Sillustrated
short biography of Pierre (Peter) Abelard

Marianne - a French national symbol, with French definitive stamps

la Belle Epoque illustrated
Grand Palais, Paris

Click to go to pages about Art Deco at abelard.org

Click to go to 'the highest, longest: the viaduct de Millau'

Pic du Midi - observing stars clearly, A64 illustrated
Carcassonne, A61: world heritage fortified city illustrated

Futuroscope
Vulcania
Space City, Toulouse

the French umbrella & Aurillac

50 years old: Citroën DS
the Citroën 2CV: a French motoring icon

the forest as seen by Francois Mauriac, and today illustrated
Les Landes, places and playtime illustrated
roundabout art of Les Landes

Hermès scarves
Hèrmes logo

bastide towns
mardi gras! carnival in Basque country
country life in France: the poultry fair

what a hair cut! m & french pop/rock

Tour de France route 2014
Le Tour de France: cycling tactics
illustrated

short biography of Pierre (Peter) Abelard

who is Marianne?
Marianne on French stamps
      Marianne commemoratives
French definitive stamps in historical context
origin and history of Marianne
some related websites
end notes

related document:

dating old postcards


Marianne as displayed on official government documents


who is Marianne?

Marianne is a symbol of Republican France. A Marianne is a bust of a proud and determined woman wearing a Phrygian cap. She symbolises the attachment of the common citizens of the revolution to the Republic - Marianne is liberty, egality and fraternity.

 


Marianne on French stamps

Marianne has been used on most definitive stamps issued since 1944, as well as several commemorative (picture) stamps. When Marianne is not clearly wearing a Phrygian cap, as on the Muller and Cheffer Marianne stamps, she is known as ‘the Republic’.

  Name Dates Marianne of ... Designer
Dulac 1942 - 1946 London (Londres)
Edmund Dulac [1]
model: Lea, wife of Dulac’s friend Emile Rixens
Fernez 1944 Algiers (Algers) Louis Fernez
Gandon 1945 - 1955 the barricades Pierre Gandon
- portrait of his wife
Muller 1955 - 1962 the Republic of Hope Louis-Charles Muller
la Nef 1959 the ship André Regagnon
Cocteau 1961 - 1965
1966 - 1967

second batch with increased prices
Jean Cocteau
Cheffer 1967 - 1971   Henry Cheffer
Béquet 1971 - 1974   Pierre Béquet
Gandon - Sabine 1977 - 1981   Pierre Gandon
- from Louvre painting [2]
Gandon - Liberté 1982 - 1990   Pierre Gandon
- from Louvre painting [3]
Briat 1990 - 1996 the Bicentenary
also known as the blind Marianne
Louis Briat
Luquet 1997 14th July Eve Luquet
- only female designer of Marianne
Lamouche 2005 the French people Thierry Lamouche
Marianne et Europe, issued from 1 July 2008, designed by Yves Beaujard. Beaujard 2008 French presidency of the council of the European Union, from July to December 2008. Yves Beaujard. Also known as “Marianne et Europe”. The first definitive to be designed and engraved by the same artist, since the Liberté de Gandon d'après Delacroix definitive was retired in 1990.

 





 

 

 

 


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Marianne commemoratives

Marianne was used on many French definitive stamps. She also appeared as the symbol of France or as the principle subject of a work of art on commemorative stamps.[4] The following is not an exhaustive list.

Marianne coming to the help of the unemployed1935This stamp price included a tax to benefit “intellectual unemployed”, such as artists and scientists affected by the 1929 crash, there being no unemployment insurance at that time.
To save the race1937Marianne with a protecting arm around a young child. The cryptic “To save the race” apparently described the stamp’s tax goal of the fight against venereal diseases.
[Note the tariff is 65c + 25c]
150th anniversary of the federal constitution of the U.S.A.1937Remembering 17 September 1787, this stamp issued to recall Franco-American friendship. Designed by Barlangue.
Help to the French repatriated from Spain1938The Spanish civil war provoked the return to France of many French, whom Marianne welcomed.
[Note the tariff is 65c + 60c]
Liberation1944Gandon symbolised the liberation of France with Marianne mounted on a winged horse. Similar to the definitive Marianne by Gandon which appeared a few years later
Marianne of Dali1979Commissioned by La Poste from Spanish painter Salvador Dali. As well as reproducing old masters, La Poste sometimes commissioned contemporary artists to design a stamp.
Heritage Year1980 This Marianne, designed by Pierre Foget, has family similarities to the then current Sabine Gandon Marianne, although she faces the opposite direction.
National census1982“Marianne travelled all over France looking for a harvest of numbers.” This stamp is famous because a hurried retoucher eliminated a mark that was the number 7 on Corsica. The stamp was printed entirely on phosphorescent paper.
Marianne of Jean Effel1983Commissioned by La Poste, the stamp became a posthumous homage to the artist who died before it was issued.
Homage to the dead1985Designed and engraved by Albert Decaris, it was issued on the 75th anniversary of the burial of the Unknown Soldier at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe.
Marianne in love1988Designed by Eriki Bilal. Originally part of a booklet - Communication - where each stamp was drawn by a different comic strip artist. This one was later issued as part of a pre-paid envelope.
Marianne worked by Raymond Gid1988Celebrating typography and typesetting.
Bicentenary of the French Revolution1990The woman in the red section wears a Phrygian cap, another symbol of the Revolution, as does the one at the top of the stamp. The stamp is in the French national colours of blue, white and red.
Constitution of the 5th Republic - 1958/19981998On a background of blue, white and red, echoing the French national flag - Marianne takes a similar colouring.


French definitive stamps in historical context

This section will give some help in understanding why particular French definitive stamps appeared when they did.
Note, French stamps are often colour-coded according to their purpose. Red is used for the standard first-class letter rate, blue for letters to abroad, and green for second-class post, postcards and newspapers.

1848 - 1852Second Republic - Louis Napoleon Bonaparte
1849 [5]Ceres20 centimes black
1F vermillion
designed and engraved by Jaques-Jean Barre
[Edges cut straight]
[printed by flat letterpress]
1852 - 1870Second Empire - Napoleon III ( Louis Napoleon Bonaparte)
1862Napoleon IIIFirst perforated French stamp  
1870 - 1940Third Republic
1870-71
Ceres

Jaques-Jean Barre
Ceres stamps were revived from 1849 issue when Napolean III stamps were forbidden. They were printed in Paris, using typographic methods.

At the same time, the provisional government in Bordeaux printed Ceres stamps. These were printed by Augée-Delile, using lithography. Thus, there are differences in clarity of image between Bordeaux and Paris stamps, as can in the illustration on the left.

1871Franco-Prussian War ended - Germany won
1871Paris Commune
   During the insurrection of the Paris Commune (1871), Napoleon III stamps were again printed, while the Parisian printer, Anatole Hulot, hid the Ceres printing material.
1876 - 1900Peace and commerce allegoric group / Sage type“Commerce and peace unite and peace reigns in the world”designed by Jules-August Sage,
engraved by Louis Eugene Mouchon
[printed by flat letterpress]
After the 1894 competition for a new stamp design failed to choose a preferred design, three stamp designs were created, used for different stamp values
1900 - 1930Blanc type;
Liberty-Egality-Fraternity
used for low values - postcards

designed by Paul-Joseph Blanc,
engraved by Emile Thomas

The winged woman carries the scales of justice and the mirror of truth.
[printed by flat letterpress]

1900Rights of man / Mouchon type used for intermediate values designed and engraved by Eugene Mouchon for the 1894 competition. The design was slightly altered for the stamp
[printed by flat letterpress]
1900 - 1920sMerson type;
Liberty and Peace allegory
first two-colour French stamp;
used for high values

Luc-Olivier Merson

The Republic, guardian of the laws and of peace.

[printed by flat letterpress, in two colours]

1903 [6]The sower 

designed by Oscar Raty,
engraved by Eugene Mouchon.
Replaced the 1900 Mouchon Rights of Man stamp.
[printed by flat and rotary letterpress]

1914 - 1918World War One
1932 - 1941(left-handed) Peace of LaurensThe Repulic holding an olive branch.

designed by Paul-Albert Laurens
engraved by Antonin Delzers
[printed by rotary letterpress]

The design reflects the strength of feeling for peace between the two World Wars.

To replace the Peace type stamp, three new mythological subjects, Mercury, Iris and Ceres, were adopted.
1938Mercuryused for low values - printed papers designed and engraved by Georges Hourriez
[printed by rotary letterpress]
1939 - 1942Iris Occupied France - free zone : green, occupied zone : reddesigned and engraved by Georges Hourriez
[printed by rotary letterpress]
Ceres, 19381938Ceresused for intermediate valuesafter the Ceres design of Jacques-Jean Barre
[printed by rotary letterpress]
1940 - 1944The French State (Vichy Government)
Note that the official French parliament web-site (l’Assemblée nationale) makes no mention at all of the stamps of the Vichy goverment, instead listing stamps from Free France and French territories overseas.

During the occupation of France by Nazi Germany, there were 43 issues of stamps. Many included Petain’s portrait [7], both in uniform and in civilian clothes. (General Philippe Petain was head of the Vichy government, installed by the occupying Nazi Germans.)

Below is featured one issue.

Jan 1942 - Sept 1944Petain Bersier series designed by Jean-Eugène Bersier
engraved by Jules Pie

Petain stamps were banned after France was liberated, but there were insufficient replacements. Taxed and overprinted Petain stamps were used, in preference obscuring the traitor Petain’s face.

There were some two hundred overprints, some official, some not. This page [in French] lists many of the overprint texts used in different towns.


image credit: Max Derouen
1943Work, family, country

The slogan of the Vichy government; stamps produced for Petain’s 87th birthday.

1943-1944Free France and French territories
Cock od Algers, 19431944First occurence of the Gallic cock on a stamp. The cross of Lorraine and the RF monogram also present.

designed by Henry Razous,
engraved by Charles Hervé
[“stone lithography”]

 

from March 1944 - Corsica, Algeria; November 1944 - Paris Marianne of Algers (or of Fernez)ordered by Charles de Gaulle at the end of the war and issued by the Provisory Government

designed by Louis Fernez,
engraved by Jamignon,
lithographic printing on stone by Charles Hervé,
printed at l’Atellier Carbonnel, Algeria.

1944 - 1947Provisional Government of the French Republic
issued October 1944 in Paris

Arc de triomphe de l'Étoile

 

 

 

[Offset lithography]

Printed in the United States. Gen. de Gaulle refused their use in the free sector of France

designed by WA Roach
engraved by CA Brooks, AW Christensen, T. Vail, JS Edmonson.

Because the horizontal, and then the vertical, dentallations were cut separately, often the printed image badly centred on the stamp.

Note the stamps have “France” on the rather than the French term, “République française”.

1944 - 1945

first issue: March 1945

Dulac MarianneProvisory Government issue, used only until the Paris l'Atelier des Timbres-Poste could restart work

designed by Edmund Dulac
engraved by Leonard Phillips, at Thomas de La Rue, London.
Printed by de La Rue.

Gen. de Gaulle allowed these stamps to be used in the free sector of France.

1945Mazelin Ceres 

designed by Charles Mazelin
engraved by Henri Cortot
[printed by rotary intaglio]

Not as delicate as the orginal Barre Ceres of 1849, this Ceres was only used for two years.

1945 - 1954Gandon Marianne designed by Pierre Gandon
engraved by Henri Corot
[printed by rotary letterpress]
1947 - 1958Fourth Republic
1955 - 1959Muller Marianne designed by Louis-Charles Muller
engraved by Jules Piel
[printed by rotary letterpress]
1957Reaper designed by Louis Muller
engraved by Jules Piel
[printed by rotary letterpress]
1958Fifth Republic
1958Charles de Gaulle
1959 - 1960Marianne à la Nef designed by André Regagnon
engraved by Jules Piel
[printed by rotary letterpress]
1960Decaris Marianne  designed by Albert Decaris
engraved by Jules Piel
[printed by rotary letterpress]
1961 - 1965
1966 - 1967
Cocteau Marianne
second issue with increased prices
designed by Jean Cocteau
engraved by Albert Decaris
[printed by rotary intaglio]
1962Algerian Independence
1962Decaris Cock [8]3 coloursdesigned and engraved by Albert Decaris
[printed by rotary intaglio]
1967 - 1969Cheffer Marianne 

designed by Henri Cheffer (drawn in 1954)
engraved by Claude Durrens after Henri Cheffer died in 1957
[printed by rotary intaglio]

1969 Georges Pompidou
1971 - 1974Béquet Marianne designed by Pierre Béquet,
engraved in relief by J. Miermont, engraved as intaglio dies by Béquet
[printed by rotary intaglio]
[printed by rotary intaglio]
1974-1981 Valéry Giscard d’Estaing
1977 - 1981Sabine Marianne designed and engraved by Pierre Gandon
1981President François Mitterand
1982Liberté designed and engraved by Pierre Gandon
[printed by rotary intaglio]
1988President Jacques Chirac
1989 - 1996

Briat Marianne

Marianne du Bicentenaire

first self-adhesive stampsdesigned by Louis Briat
engraved by Charles Jumelet
[printed by rotary intaglio]
1989200th anniversary of the French Revolution
1997 - 2004

Luquet Marianne

Marinne du 14 juillet

 designed by Eve Luquet
engraved by Charles Jumelet
[printed by high speed rotary intaglio]
2005

Lamouche Marianne

Marianne des Français

 Designed by Thierry Lamouche
[printed by high speed rotary intaglio]
2007 President Nicholas Sarkozy
2008

Marianne de Beaujard

Marianne et l'Europe

 Designed by Yves Beaujard
[printed by high speed rotary intaglio]
2012 President François Hollande
MARIANNE JEUNE 2013 Marianne de la Jeunesse   Designed by David Kawena and Olivier Ciappa
based on comic strip and manga drawings.
The Marianne portrait is based on Inna Shevchenko, of the lesbian activist organisation, Femen.

For those readers who are adventurous and trust their command of French, here is a twenty-question quiz on Marianne stamps.


the origin and history of Marianne

Marianne appears to have come from the name Marie-Anne, which was a common forename during 18th century France. For the aristocracy, Marie-Anne was not a worthy name and was considered as pejorative in their social circles because it represented the people.

The revolutionaries adopted the name Marianne to symbolise the change of regime; but above all it incarnated the symbol of “the mother country”, the mother who nourished and protected the children of the Republic.

Other sources say that the name originates from 1797, when Barras, a member of the Directorate, chose the first name of the wife of one of his friends, Reubelle, to represent the new regime. The name fulfilled the conditions of simplicity and lack of royalist connotation.

At that period, there was also a revolutionary Occitane song, la Garisou de Marianno [la Guérison de Marianne, or the healing of Marianne] that used this forename to refer to the Republic.

Later, during the Restoration and the Second Empire, Marianne became the code name for a clandestine Republican society.

The image of Marianne and her Phrygian cap have their origins in antiquity. The Phrygian cap was worn by slaves emancipated from the Greek and Roman Empires. Thence, they were citizens, not slaves.

The first representations of a woman in a Phrygian cap were made during the period of the French Revolution. Sailors and galley crew from the Mediterranean regions wore caps that were practically the same design. When they joined the Revolution, they brought the cap to Paris.

A Phrygian cap is a soft, red felt cap covering the ears, with a rounded top that is pulled forward. Phrygia was part of Anatolia in Turkey. One of its kings was Midas of whom it was alleged that everything he touched turned to gold.

During the Third Republic, Marianne was represented by statues, often put in town halls [mairies]. She wore the Phrygian cap to emphasise her revolutionary character, but this was sometimes regarded as a call to revolt, and the cap was replaced by a wreath or tiara to give Marianne a character of greater wisdom.

From 1789 (start date of the French Revolution) females appeared in paintings and statuary, where they expressed the values of liberty and revolution with their Phrygian cap and sometimes a decorated lance. When the Marianne wore a long tunic dress, she was formal and conquering.

A decree of 1792 arranged that the “state seal would be changed and would have representing France a woman dressed as in Antiquity, standing, holding in her right hand a lance surmounted by a Phrygian cap, or cap of liberty, her left hand resting on a bundle of arms, and at her feet a tiller”. She would also have at her feet tables with the law and the Declaration of the Rights of Man presented to the world.

After 1799, the end of the Republic and the start of the First Empire weakened the representation of Marianne, even if the theme of liberty endured. Her name reappeared for a time during the Second Republic, but generally took a negative sense.

Napoleon III, the new emperor, replaced Marianne on coins and stamps with his own portrait. The 1870 Commune of Paris developed a cult of a female revolutionary fighter with bare breasts wearing a Phrygian cap of the sans-culottes [9], but she was not called Marianne.

Under the Third Republic, two models competed - the statue with a wreath of wheat and the statue with the Phrygian cap. The first represented a moderate Republic, while the second a revolutionary Republic, the people’s republican called Marianne.

As the Third Republic settled in, busts multiplied in the mairies and schools. A uniform model generally was used, being a bust of a woman with a young and calm face, sometimes wearing a wreath of wheat, but more often wearing a Phrygian cap.

The assimilation of the Marianne into the French Republic has now been achieved. Marianne has survived through five Republics and through the upsets of history. The most recent designs of Marianne are popular in town halls, with the features of celebrities like Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve and Laetitia Castra.


some related websites

[All sites in French unless otherwise indicated]

Cercle des Amis de Marianne
La Poste
L’Assemblie nationale
comprehensive online search for French stamps - at the bottom of the linked web-page
complete list of French stamps
French history - dates (in English)

Marianne part 2: town hall statues

 

end notes

  1. After the fall of France, the remnants of the French Army retreated to England, regrouping around General de Gaulle in London under the name Free France. The French stamp printers (l’Atelier des Timbres-poste) were now in German-occupied Paris. De Gaulle commissioned a Frenchman in London, Edmond Dulac, to design a stamp (to be printed in London) to rally the French colonies to Free France. However, because de Gaulle would not accept the design, only about 5,000 copies were produced. One of the stamps de Gaulle preferred was the Algers Cockerel. This stamp included a cross of Lorraine, symbol of Joan of Arc and adopted by the Free French forces.

    Later, in 1943, Dulac entered a stamp design competition for French artists in England and his design was accepted, becoming known as the Marianne of London. The stamps were first sent to Paris at the end of August 1944.

  2. [La Louvre Museum, Paris]
    From Sabines arrëtant le combat entre les Romains et les Sabins - Sabines stopping the fight between the Romans and the Sabins. Hersilie is standing with arms open to stop her Roman husband from throwing a javelin at her father-in-law, Tatius, king of the Sabins.(Hersilie had been kidnapped some years before by the Romans, a common way for Romans to obtain new young brides.)

    Pierre Gandon used as his model, the face of the Sabine in a painting at the Louvre - L’enlèvement des Sabine [the kidnapping of the Sabines] by Jacques-Louis David, 1799

    The legend “France”, which conformed to the Universal Postal Union rules, was replaced by “Republique Française” in 1981 after the election of President François Mitterand.


  3. After the principal person in the painting La Liberté guidant le peuple [Liberty guiding the people] by Eugene Delacroix, painted soon after deposition of King Charles X by the July 1830 Revolution. This Liberty image used to figure on 100 franc notes.






  4. Definitive stamps are the standard stamps that are sold year after year. Commemoratives were originally made to commemorate a special event. More recently, commemoratives have been issued in order to raise revenue rather than celebrate an event, with some minor event being used as a fig leaf.

  5. The first stamp paid for by the sender, rather than the receiver, was the Penny Black, issued on 6 May 1840. The stamp showed a side portrait of Queen Victoria at age 15. The idea of pre-paid postage had been developed by Rowland Hill.

    The first French postage stamp was issued on 1 January 1849. Its value was 20 centimes. Its colour was black, and had a portrait of Ceres (as illustrated), goddess of harvest and agriculture. In 1849, France was a rural and agricultural society so the choice of Ceres to represent the Republic was appropriate.

    The colour was soon changed from black to red, as the black franking could not easily be distinguished and so stamps were being reused. Because the 40 centime stamp was originally red, its colour was changed to blue at this time.



  6. Printing: to follow soon ^_^

  7. Several issues of the sower appeared, in various series. Firstly, the lined sower, named after the lines on the background, had two major series, firstly from 1903 to 1907, then from 1924 to 1929, with the colours and the values changing. The lined sower had a further outing from 1960 to 1965, this time engraved by Jules Piel. The lines were to give an impression of intaglio printing, a more prestigious printing form than the letterpress printing actually employed. Note that the sower is sowing against the wind.

    The cameo sower, also known as the plain background sower, is sometimes called La Semeuse grasse, the fat sower. The word ‘fat’ refers to the heavy letters used for the stamp’s value.

    The allegory of the sower was already on coins since 1897. She embodies a rural Republic which was a stamp symbol for more than 30 years. The design was planned originally for a agricultural medal. Roty made a plaster cast to serve as the engraver’s model. However, transferring the design from 3-D low-relief to a 2-D stamp was not easy.

    This stamp was printed on mass production paper to take into account the shortage of paper at that time.

  8. Mercury is the god of commerce and eloquence, patron of merchants and travelers. As messenger of the gods, Mercury also embodies the modern god of messengers carrying the post.

    Originally issued with the legend “République française”, in 1942 this stamp bore the words “Postes françaises”, and from 1944, was overprinted with “RF”.

  9. Iris, as a messenger of the gods, carries a torch to light the road.

    Printing took place in two places: first in Paris, then, between September 1939 and September 1940 in Limoges. But the Iris type is best known for being printed on interzonal postcards. From September 1940, it was the only method of correspondence permitted by the Germans between the free zone and the occupied area. The Iris type reappeared in September 1944 with a Republican legend.

  10. This stamp was derived from the Jacques-Jean Barre Ceres of 1849, and was reserved for intermediate values. Modifications were made to the frame of the legend and the face value. The engraving of the stamp, which bears no signature, was done at the stamp printing Workshop. Priinting was done at Paris and Limoges. The stamp printing Workshop was moved to Limoges the beginning of the war.

  11. Only two French heads of state, Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and Philippe Pétain, have wished their portrait to appear on stamps contrary to the Republican tradition, with the principle that a personality is not put on a stamp while they are still living. However, these two heads of state did have the excuse that they were not Republicans.

    However, La Poste (the French Post Office) has sometimes slipped up, for instance producing stamps showing portraits of Ginette Leclerc and Jean-Pierre Cargol, while still living, in the French Cinema series of 1986. Another still living French personality on a French stamp is Jean-Claude Killy, 6 times world champion and 3 times Olympic champion, twice world cup winner amongst many other sporting successes.

    The two first Napoleon III stamps, produced before he was proclaimed emperor still included the words “Repub. Franc.”, following stamps had instead “Empire Franc.”

  12. At the end of 1943, Corsica was the only French department to be liberated. Cut off from the mainland, the island soon had no stamps, so on 6 December 1943, the French Committee of National Liberation (CFLN) in Algiers made a temporary solution by introducing stamps made in the Free French territory of Algeria. In May 1944, the CFLN became the Republic’s provisional government.

    Louis Fernez was the prize-winning Algerian painter who was entrusted with the design of the first Marianne of France. There was sufficient printing materials - lithographic stone - in Algeria. This stone had already been used to print stamps designed by Jules Carbonel. The work was entrusted to the lithographer Charles Hervé.
    This provisional Marianne disappeared in May 1945.

  13. The Gallic cock decorated the French flag during the 1789 revolution. In 1830, he replaced the fleur-de-lys, the royal emblem. In 1852, he was chased away by the Empirial eagle, but returned in 1962 on a tricolour [blue, white, red] stamp.

    The cockerel, gallus gallus, has been a French symbol since Roman times. The French appreciate the play on words: the Roman word for cock, gallus, was also used by the Romans to name the French people of that period - the Gaulois.


  14. Sans-culottes means without breeches. This label was applied by the richer classes in 18th century France, who could afford smart, fitted knee-breeches, to the poorer, working classes, in particular around Paris, who wore ill-fitting pantaloons. Specifically, the term referred to “the ill-clad and ill-equipped volunteers of the French Revolutionary army”.


  15. The tricolour of the French national flag - blue, white, red - combines the colours of Paris (red and blue) with the colour of the king (white).

    These colours appeared during the first days of the French Revolution. In July 1789, a little before the taking of the Bastille prison (14th July), there was a great general unrest in Paris. A militia was raised, which wore a cockade composed of the ancient colours of Paris - red and blue. On the 17th July, Louis XI went to Paris to review the new National Guard. The Guard was wearing the cockade of red and blue, to which (apparently) the Lafayette, the Guard commander added the royal white.

    The law of 27 pluviôse year II (15 February 1794) made the tricolour the national flag of France and, following the recommendation of the artist David, stipulated that the blue should be attached to the mast.

    • French governments from 1792 to present
    • First Republic: 1792 - 1804
    • First Empire: 1804 - 1814
    • Restoration of the Bourbons: 1814 - 1848
    • Second Republic: 1848 - 1852
    • Second Empire: 1852 - 1870
    • Third Republic: 1870 - 1940
    • The French State (Vichy Government): 1940 - 1944
    • Provisional government of the French Republic: 1944 - 1947
    • Fourth Republic: 1947 - 1958
    • Fifth Republic: 1958 - present


  16. The group represents an allegory of the Republican trilogy, Liberty-Egality-Fraternity, symbolised by a winged woman holding the scales of justice and the cherubs who embrace each other.

  17. These stamps show an allegoric representation of Liberty and Peace.

  18. While in the unoccupied zone of France under the Vichy government, with new stamps were issued from November 1940, in the occupied zone things were different.
    Peace stamp over-printed by the occupying Germans, 1940
    image credit: statusinternational.com


    Existing stamps were overprinted by the Germans with a franking-type stamp. The stamp read Besetztes / Gebiet / Nordfrankreich - Occupied Zone Northern France.

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