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Manx Winter by Julia Ashby Smyth Set and Sheet Set

In this winter themed stamp issue, we share local artwork by Julia Ashby Smyth; a Manx illustrator who is at the heart of the Island’s art scene as curator of the Hodgson Loom Gallery at the Laxey Woollen Mills. Her distinctively Manx / Celtic illustrations are well known and much loved, appearing across the Island through many local commissions.

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Product Description
  • The stamp designs for our 2022 Christmas issue feature recognisable Manx wintery locations, beautifully illustrated by local artist Julia Ashby Smyth. This beautiful set of stamps is the final Isle of Man stamp issue to be issued bearing the image of HM Queen Elizabeth II. 

    Julia describes each of the locations featured in her own words. 

    Laxey Wheel – Sometimes a winter sky is so intensely blue that it defies its season. A wintery walk to the far side of the Laxey Wheel on such a day revealed every detail in sharp clarity, from the redness of the flags to the yellowness of the flowering gorse.

    Ballabeg Stop - A sprinkling of snow and a festively festooned station is incredibly atmospheric, steam and smoke pluming great clouds into a lilac sky, the giggly excitement of Christmas palpable in the air.

    Sulby Methodist Church – You can drive past a building regularly without really noticing it. Surround it with snow, and suddenly it takes centre stage. A late afternoon petrol blue sky counterpointed the slate, bringing out the golden tones in the stonework. Low light, along with the buttery glow from the stained glass windows created a delicious warmth. Starlings and sparrows vied for prime roosts in the bright variegated holly tree, their songs, beeps and twitterings filled the air.

    Onchan Church Hall - Walking up a snowy Royal Avenue on the way to post some Christmas cards gave the perfect opportunity to appreciate the architecture of Baillie Scott’s Onchan Church Hall, the lights within radiating through the red hearts in the windows, a welcoming glow spilling out through the open door. Designed by architect Ballie Scott, the Hall marks its 125th anniversary in 2022.

    Groudle – Taking a walk through Groudle Glen on a fresh bright winter morning, the snow had dusted the rocks and paths creating a pristine canvas on which to drop and criss-cross sharp edged azure shadows. These along with the icy cold silvers and greys of the stream brought an atmosphere of an arctic wonderland.

    Agneash – Whilst living up in Agneash we were snowed in for two weeks. The only way to get supplies was to walk down to Laxey. The advantage of this was being able to watch the whole valley, including the smoke from chimneys and the bare bushes, turn ever deeper shades of pink as the sun dipped.

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