Final flag raised in Hoe Garden public art project


The third in a series of flags celebrating Edward Stanley Gibbons, the Plymouth-born founder of the renowned Stanley Gibbons stamp business, will be raised in the Hoe Garden this afternoon.

The flags are the brainchild of artist Joanna Brinton, who won a public art commission from the Council (supported by Plymouth Culture) to showcase local artists and the city’s unique history.

Born in 1840, Edward Stanley Gibbons started his stamp collecting business in his father’s pharmacy shop at 15 Treville Street in Plymouth. His enterprise took flight and today Stanley Gibbons Ltd is highly regarded as the home and market leader of stamp collecting.

2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of the company’s famous stamp catalogues and artists based in the South West were invited to create a new piece of public art celebrating his achievements.

Joanna, an associate artist based at Plymouth University through 2015, proposed a series of flags based on the triangular ‘Cape of Good Hope’ stamps that helped establish Stanley Gibbons in 1863. Her idea was chosen by a panel of representatives from the Council, Plymouth Culture, Arts Council England, Plymouth Arts Centre and the Hoe Conservation and Residents Association.

For the final flag design Joanna took inspiration from Council gardeners who work on the Hoe, who told her about a special trowel that has been worn to a third of its original size from use. ‘Diggers’ draws our attention to the relationship between humans and nature, pleasure and work and the connections between people and their surroundings.

The flag will fly alongside the others until the end of March.

Councillor Brian Vincent, Cabinet Member for Streetscene, said: “This is a great way to showcase South West artists, provide an interesting focal point for visitors and celebrate different aspects of Plymouth’s history. We’re really pleased that Jo has involved different members of the Hoe community throughout the project and that they can now see the designs they inspired on display.”