The assignment was to create a postage stamp for the United States Postal Service to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor.
The art director and artist decided to portray the ship at dawn, as it came into the harbor, a scene they hadn’t seen before. Historic research provided them with the design, dimensions, and color of the ship. The watercolor, gouache, and acrylic painting, digitally refined, conveys a scene of desolate beauty at the end of the Pilgrims' harrowing journey to an unfamiliar world. The stamp also features a stylized hawthorn flower printed in intaglio. In England, the hawthorn—a member of the rose family—is sometimes called a mayflower, as it blooms in May.
After only six months, nearly 70% of the stamps had sold.