The stamps—released today—feature The View from the Lover’s Chair, which is the work of Paul Jacob Naftel, Guernsey’s most famous and successful artist during the 19th century.
Born in 1817, Naftel was self-taught and specialized in watercolour landscapes, painting many of the island’s beautiful bays and landmarks as well as teaching drawing at Guernsey’s Elizabeth College. Many of his early scenes were reproduced as lithographs and sold to tourists.
His first wife, Elizabeth Robilliard, was from nearby Alderney, home also to the Sister Rocks, two large rocks off the island’s south coast and the natural seat, known as “The Lover’s Chair,” which is the scene for Naftel’s painting The View from the Lover’s Chair, depicted across the se-tenant 59-pence stamps.
This secluded seat first bore the name La Chaise de L’Emauve but later became known as The Lover’s Chair when Alderney girl Jacquine Le Mesurier fell in love with a squire far lower than herself in rank; they used this rocky bower for their clandestine meetings.
The text on the stamps—”Forever in my heart” and “From me to you”—is written both in English and in Aurignais (“á jomais dàns m’n tchoeur” and “de mé à té”), which is the Alderney French Patois that Naftel’s wife was familiar with. The ancient local Norman dialect became extinct when the last known native speaker died in around 1960, although some traces of the language still exist in the island’s place names.