A Diana Stamp

In Breach of Copyright


DIANA'S LIFE was celebrated and her death mourned by the issue of commemorative stamps all around the world. Many of these were produced by specialist companies on behalf of smaller countries who wished merely to take a fraction of the consequent profits in return for the licensed use of their national name.
The company we believe to have designed this stamp on behalf of the francophone République du Tchad has refused to acknowledge it, and the Tchad Embassy in Paris has not responded to our enquiries.

So why are we interested?

In the production of a website such as this, we face a continuing battle to balance the quality of the graphics with the need to keep the files small (to enable fast downloads), and during one series of experiments, while attempting to reduce file size by reducing the number of its colours, we unintentionally uploaded two files in which some silver was reproduced as gold. Here they are.

The frets in the second and third quarters should be gold, of course, but the escallops on the bend should be silver.

The error was quickly recognised and corrected. (Ignore the darker red and whitened silver ~ the experiments were continuing ~ but note that the frets in the hatchment were thickened.)

Now ~ back to the stamp!

The designer took the hatchment design with the golden escallops on the bend and the thinner frets in the second and third quarters, placed it within the lozenge's border fleury (a Pegasus Armorie design) used in the other illustration, and then superimposed the whole on a black hatchment shape.

Under a magnifying glass it is easy to see the blocky edges of the fleury leaves, for the .gif file he downloaded and copied was at 72ppi.

At higher resolution the lozenge's border fleury should look more like this.

This has raised some interesting questions. Arms as old as Earl Spencer's are not protected by any copyright, but any specific depiction of them (especially when incorrect) may have protection claimed in the usual way. (The verbal description of arms is their blazon; when they are depicted they are said to be emblazoned.) Notwithstanding this however, the border fleury designed by the artists of Pegasus Armorie, used in many of their paintings of ladies' arms, is most assuredly protected by copyright.

If any or our philatelist readers should know which company designed this stamp for the République du Tchad, we should be grateful for their information.

Spencers and Despencers

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