The assignment was to create a stamp to commemorate the bicentennial of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, one of America’s most profound writers and ecological thinkers.
The art director and illustrator assembled a famous 1856 daguerreotype by Benjamin Maxham as art reference for the artist’s portrait, as well as the writer’s signature of his last name, and a symbol from the natural world, a sumac branch, similar to those that grew around Walden Pond. The artist painted Thoreau’s portrait in oil on board and the stamp designer digitally added the signature and sumac leaves.
The stamp was well liked by the literary and environmental communities both in and outside of Thoreau's home state of Massachusetts, where there was particular interest in the stamp. It was said to effectively portray Thoreau's interests and the profound nature of the man. Nine months after the issuance was released over 7 million of the twelve million stamps produced had been sold.
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