At the very heart of the philatelic story are the designers, engravers and printers of the stamps we collect. The challenge of creating a striking image in a space just a few centimetres square cannot be overestimated.
Although now largely automated using photographic techniques, the skill of the earlier engravers who transformed the original artwork into a printing plate which might produce millions of individual stamps is truly remarkable. A number of the world's most famous security printers were based in the UK.
The Royal has company records and samples of the work of a number of the most famous printers, including most notably Perkins, Bacon who produced the Penny Black, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp, and also De La Rue who produced stamps, banknotes and many other items for countries around the world and especially within the former British Empire.