Buckingham Covers - First Day Covers

Professor John Hedgecoe


One of the greatest photographers of our time, John Hedgecoe was Professor of photography at the Royal College of Art, with his work appearing in Queen Magazine for 15 years, The Times, The Observer, Paris Match, Life and Vogue to mention just a few. His photographs are on permanent display in major collections in New York and London and he is the recipient of several major awards. He is also the author of numerous books on photography.

Professor Hedgecoe is an important name in the Stamp World. He was commissioned by the Post Office in the 1960s to photograph HRH The Queen for the new postage stamp. The prints were sent to sculptor Arnold Machin who made a relief plaster image, which Hedgecoe then photographed. This image was the definite issue of the British postage stamp and also the final matrix for the design on Commonwealth stamps in New Zealand and Australia, and for use on commemorative souvenirs. The image was in constant use for over three decades and must be one of the most reproduced images in the world.The story doesn't end there. In 2000, for some strange reason, Royal Mail officially denied that Professor Hedgecoe had any involvement in the stamps. Hedgecoe sued for libel. Royal Mail reviewed information supplied by Hedgecoe and the Post Office, withdrew its statements, apologised and settled the case for an undisclosed amount. We understand that this was the statement released by Royal Mail when the suit was settled: "Royal Mail now believes that Professor Hedgecoe's photographs were used by Mr. Machin as a significant aid in the design of the final study, which was then used for the definitive stamp. Professor Hedgecoe is therefore entitled to his full share of credit, along with others engaged in this complex process".Read a letter to us from Professor Hedgecoe talking about his involvement.