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A Solent University lecturer is celebrating seeing his illustrations used on the latest Royal Mail stamp collection, Curious Customs.

9th July 2019
Art and design

A  Solent University lecturer is celebrating seeing his illustrations used for the latest Royal Mail stamp collection, Curious Customs.


The latest collection, designed by senior lecturer in illustration Jonny Hannah, celebrates the quirky and sometimes very eccentric world of British folk customs. The eight designs are based around several unusual key events that take place around the UK:

  • Burning the Clocks – a Brighton folk festival featuring a lantern parade and a beach bonfire
  • Padstow ’Obby’ Oss - two black hobby horses lead a May Day procession through the town
  • World Gurning Championships - a highlight of Cumbria’s annual Egremont Crab Fair
  • Up Helly Aa – a fire festival celebrating Shetland’s Viking heritage, held in Lerwick
  • Cheese Rolling - hundreds of runners chase a Double Gloucester down a hill in Brockworth
  • Halloween - Europe’s biggest Halloween festival takes place over five days in Derry/Londonderry
  • Horn Dance - a unique celebration of ancient hunting rites, held in Staffordshire
  • Bog Snorkelling - swimmers race through a water-filled trench in a peat bog in Powys

The eight designs took Jonny almost eighteen months from start to finish to complete. Jonny even took to wearing a Viking helmet and drawing in a Morris dancer’s outfit on the odd occasion as part of his preparations to feel more in tune with his work.

The stamp collection is packed full of fun facts, tales of the unexpected, a specially-commissioned illustrated map and an exclusive poem celebrating the UK nation’s curious customs.


Talking about the Curious Customs collection, Jonny said: “I am incredibly proud to have had my designs chosen by the Royal Mail. When I was a kid I was passionate about drawing, spending hours and hours doodling away. Creating a design to fit on the size of a stamp is a very meticulous process and every millimetre counts, so there was sometimes endless shifting of components around to make sure everything fitted.

 Find out more or buy the Curious Customs stamp collection available from 9 July.

Jonny, who teaches illustration, graphic design, body art and visual communication at Solent, went to say: “What I love about my job as a lecturer in illustration is sharing my passion for drawing, and encouraging my students to practise their art to perfection. I’m very lucky to be able to do something that I love so much every single day.”