Finnish post honours Moomin creator Jansson

The postal service issues two stamps on Friday commemorating the centenary of Tove Jansson, one of the nation’s most widely-translated authors.

Tove Janssonin juhlapostimerkkien suunnittelusta vastaa graafikko Klaus Welp. Image: Itella Posti

This August will mark the centenary of the birth of Tove Jansson, one of Finland’s best-known authors. Commemorating the anniversary year, the Finnish postal service Itella issues two first-class stamps on Friday featuring Jansson. One portrays the writer and artist posing in her beloved Pellinge archipelago, the other holding Sniff, one of the characters from Moominvalley.

Though most popular for her all-ages fantasy series based in Moominvalley, Jansson (1914-2001), was a multi-faceted artist who produced paintings, graphics, cartoons and murals as well as many novels and short stories for adult readers.

The daughter of one of Finland’s most prolific stamp designers and a sculptor, Jansson’s active career stretched from the 1930s through the 1990s.

"Too large for a stamp"

Her Moomin characters have previously been featured in at least two sets of stamps, but the new ones are the first to depict their creator.

The stamps were designed by Klaus Welp, a Finnish-German graphic artist based in Helsinki. He says he was honoured to be asked to create them.

“My first thought was that Jansson was too large a figure for a stamp. The second was that the stamps should show Jansson beyond the Moomins, and her desire to be remembered as an artist and author. The third was a thrill that I’d be allowed to design a stamp honouring my favourite artist, and that of my whole family,” he told Yle.