Today, 1 February, New Zealand releases a set of four stamps marking the 100th anniversary of the death of writer Kathleen Mansfield Murry (née Beauchamp). Designed by Caitlin McArthur, the stamps were printed using offset lithography by Southern Colour Print in Napier, New Zealand, in gummed sheets of 20 stamps for each design and a miniature sheet containing one of each stamp. They are vertically oriented, measuring 35mm x 46mm, with a perforation gauge of 14.78 x 14.86.
According to NZPost,
— NZPost Collectibles
Katherine Mansfield is Aotearoa New Zealand’s most internationally recognised historical literary figure, remembered for her distinctive prose and adventurous life.
Katherine’s time in Wellington had a significant influence on many of her stories. These stamps celebrate the writer’s legacy, her work, and her New Zealand connections. Created with support from the Katherine Mansfield House and Garden and the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington, each stamp includes a quote, a photo of Katherine at a different stage of her life, and a significant item in the background. Together they uniquely commemorate the author’s life and legacy.
A New Zealand writer, essayist and journalist, Kathleen Mansfield is widely considered one of the most influential and important authors of the modernist movement. Her works are celebrated across the world, and have been published in 25 languages. Her birthplace in the Wellington suburg of Thorndon has been preserved as the Katherine Mansfield House and Garden. An award, the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship is offered annually to enable a New Zealand writer to work at her former home, the Villa Isola Bella. New Zealand’s pre-eminent short story competition is named in her honor.
Archives of Katherine Mansfield material are held in the Turnbull Collection of the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington, with other important holdings at the Newberry Library in Chicago, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin and the British Library in London. There are smaller holdings at New York Public Library and other public and private collections.
Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp was born on 14 October 1888 into a socially prominent Wellington family in Thorndon. After being raised by her parents and her beloved grandmother, she began school in Karori with her sisters before attending Wellington Girls’ College. The Beauchamp girls later switched to the elite Fitzherbert Terrace School, where Mansfield became friends with Maata Mahupuku, who became a muse for early work and with whom she is believed to have had a passionate relationship.
Mansfield wrote short stories and poetry under a variation of her own name, Katherine Mansfield, which explored anxiety, sexuality and existentialism alongside a developing New Zealand identity. When she was 19, she left New Zealand and settled in England, where she became a friend of D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Lady Ottoline Morrell and others in the orbit of the Bloomsbury Group. Mansfield was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis in 1917, and she died in France aged 34 on 9 January 1923.
Karori Normal School in Wellington has a stone monument dedicated to her with a plaque commemorating her work and her time at the school. Samuel Marsden Collegiate School (previously Fitzherbert Terrace School) has an award in her name while nine high schools around New Zealand have a house named after Mansfield.
She was the subject of a 1973 BBC miniseries A Picture of Katherine Mansfield, starring Vanessa Redgrave. The six-part series included depictions of Mansfield’s life and adaptations of her short stories. In 2011, a television biopic titled Bliss was made of her early beginnings as a writer in New Zealand; in this she was played by Kate Elliott.
$1.70: “I’m a writer first and a woman after.”
Words written to her husband in 1920. Mansfield is a young professional woman in this photo, but her Corona typewriter was used in the last years of her life. Photographs of Katherine Mansfield. Ref: 1/2-002590-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. Corona. Manufactured by Corona Typewriter Company Inc., Groton, N. Y., U. S. A. [Number] 3. [Typewriter formerly owned by Katherine Mansfield, manufactured 1920]. Ref: Curios-018-1-010. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
$3.00: “I want to be all that I am capable of becoming.”
Written in a journal on her last birthday, this quote represents a spiritual exploration. The fan and Russian-inspired ensemble Mansfield wears is indicative of her theatrical sense of dress. Negatives and prints from the Making New Zealand Centennial collection. Ref: MNZ-2532-1/2-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
$3.80: “To be alive and … a ‘writer’ is enough.”
This quote written during World War One reflects challenging times, while the karaka tree and daisy lapel highlight a love of flowers, a recurring feature in Mansfield’s stories. Katherine Mansfield. Ref: 1/2-002594-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
$4.30: “Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others.”
Written on her last birthday, 14 October 1922, Mansfield was seeking a cure for her tuberculosis. The doll’s house illustration by Trish Turner references one of her best-known stories. Image of Katherine Mansfield. Murry, John Middleton, 1889-1957 : Diaries and notebooks. Ref: MSX-4147-65. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
|Date of Issue:||1 February 2023|
|Number of Stamps:||Four gummed stamps|
|Denominations:||$1.70, $3.00, $3.80 & $4.30|
|Stamps and first day covers designed by:||Caitlin McArthur, NZ Post, Wellington, New Zealand|
|Printer and Process:||Southern Colour Print, Napier, New Zealand by offset lithography|
|Number of Colors:||Four process colors|
|Stamp Size and Format:||35mm x 46mm (vertical)|
|Miniature Sheet Size and Format:||150mm x 90mm (horizontal)|
|Paper Type:||Arconvert Securpost Premium gummed 110gsm|
|Number of Stamps per Sheet:||20|
|Perforation Gauge:||14.78 x 14.86|