Christmas stamps celebrate stained-glass art

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The impact of the Pre-Raphaelite movement on church stained- glass windows is to be celebrated in Christmas stamps issued by the Royal Mail this year, it was announced today.

Madonna And Child, by Pre-Raphaelite artist Henry Holiday, taken from a stained-glass window in the Church of Ormesby St Michael, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, features on the first-class stamp.

The second-class stamp, Angel, is taken from a stained-glass window designed by celebrated 19th century artist William Morris, in the Church of St James at Staveley, Kendal, Cumbria.

A further two stamps taken from stained-glass windows by Holiday also feature in the collection - the 56p, Joseph, taken from the Parish Church of St Michael in Minehead, Somerset, and the £1.35, Shepherd, taken from a window at St Mary's Upavon, Wiltshire.

The 90p stamp, Wise Man, is taken from a stained-glass window design by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones, from the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Rye, East Sussex.

The issue comes after a revival of interest in the Pre-Raphaelite movement, brought about partly by series such as the BBC's Desperate Romantics and a major exhibition earlier this year on artist John William Waterhouse at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

A spokeswoman for the Royal Mail said its policy for Christmas stamps is to alternate religious and secular themes.

But last year it broke with tradition to feature both religious and secular images in its Christmas stamp collection.

* The Christmas stamps go on sale today.