Obituary: Jeffery Matthews MBE


01 June 2023
Jeffery Matthews MBE, designer of British stamps whose work has long been admired, has died aged 95.

For many collectors his name will always be associated with the Machin definitives. When the cost of recess printing brought the need to change the high value definitives, it was Jeffery who designed the photogravure-printed high values of 1977, choosing the combination of two colours used for each value. 

Read more about the career of Jeffery Matthews in the July 2023 issue of Stamp Collector magazine, available to download or order now. Find out more

With high inflation resulting in frequent tariff changes, particularly in the 1980s, he created a new typeface for the denominations, and a palette of col-ours that met Arnold Machin’s concept of having dark backgrounds for the stamps.

Jeffery was first invited to submit design ideas to the British Post Office for the General Letter Office set in 1960. There followed several similar requests, but it was not until 1965 that the first stamps he designed were issued.

It was in 1969 that his true skills came to the attention of the Post Office thanks to the designs he submitted for the Investiture of The Prince of Wales. While his designs were again not chosen, they demonstrated he had a flair for the Royal occasion. Several commissions thus resulted resulting in six stamp issues.

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Another submission not adopted initially was Jeffery’s concept for the 1977 Silver Jubilee featuring The Queen’s Beasts. This revealed his talent at dealing with heraldic subject matter, and three sets resulted, including one that utilised his concept from 1977.

Jeffery’s other work included designing the logo and 50p stamp for the London 1980 International Stamp Exhibition, the Christmas stamps for 1980, and the Flower Photographs of Alfred Lammer in 1987. In addition Jeffery undertook much ‘experimental’ work of behalf of Royal Mail, including the use of NVIs and putting bar codes on stamps.

Sadly Christine, Jeffery’s wife and inspiration for many years, died in 1994: our condolences to his son and daughter, Rory and Sarah Jane.