Robert Burns, Scotland’s national bard, was born 250 years ago into a farming family at Alloway in Ayrshire in 1759.
To celebrate this very special anniversary, on 22 January Royal Mail is issuing a Miniature Sheet containing two new 1st Class stamps featuring the poet.
The Sheet is being issued in time for the annual Burn’s Night celebrations, on 25 January, a date eagerly anticipated by Scots around the globe.
The Robert Burns 250th Anniversary Miniature Sheet is the work of Scottish design company Tayburn who designed the two new stamps.
The first sits to the left of the Sheet, and features the title of the poem A Man’s a Man for a’ that, with a detail from a copper plate engraving from a painting by James Sargent Storer - Robert Burns turning up a mouse in her nest with his plough. The second stamp, on the right, features the famous portrait of the poet by Alexander Nasmyth.
The four Scottish definitives, which were also designed by Tayburn, are positioned in the centre of the sheet. The background shows an engraving of Burns’ birthplace in Alloway by James Sargent Storer.
This is Royal Mail’s third issue honouring Robert Burns, with two stamps in January 1966 and four in 1996 on the 200th anniversary of his death.
Royal Mail has commissioned Peter J Westwood, the editor of The Burns Chronicle, to tell the poet’s life story in the fully illustrated Presentation Pack.
A limited edition Robert Burns 250th Anniversary Coin Cover, produced in association with the Royal Mint, will also be available featuring the Miniature Sheet together with a £2 commemorative coin.
Julietta Edgar, Head of Special Stamps, Royal Mail said: “Despite his early death aged 37, Robert Burns had already secured a place in history with the publication of ‘Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect’.”
“This was considered to be one of the greatest poetical collections ever written, and we are delighted to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the great man’s birth with this special Miniature Sheet.”
We have been given 20 mint sets of these stamps to give away. To enter our competition all you need to do is complete the title of this famous Burns song: 'My love is like.....'
E-mail your answers to either: email@example.com to reach us by Friday, January 30, 2009. The editor's decision is final and all usual Trinity Mirror rules apply.