Montserrat, meaning "Sawed Mountain" in Catalan, is a very distinctive isolated mountain located right in the middle of Catalonia, about 40 km SW of Barcelona. Since 881 A.D. it has been the site of a Benedictine Monastery (la Abadia de Montserrat), that holds the shrine of the Virgin of Montserrat, a Romanic black virgin patroness of Catalonia. The mountain and its monastery are both an spiritual, cultural and patriotic reference for Catalans. Also, geographic, as it's easily identified when you're travelling (or trekking) in our country. Even Richard Wagner placed there the Holy Graal hidding place on this opera "Parsifal". True, in 1941 Goebbels came here to try to find the Graal... In 1947, after he trauma of the civil war, Catalans gathered to place a new crown on the Virgin's image. It was both a religious and patriotic event, of great significance at that time. As it was normal by then, there was a cinderella issue to rise founds. I've carried on a little search on them, as not much information is available. There are 13 wood engraving cinderellas. The printer was "Oliva de Vilanova", the Barcelona's printer that did also most of Barcelona city council stamps. They were the work two engravers: Antoni Ollé I Pinell (Barcelona, 1897-1981) and another one that signs "C" and that, so far, I've not been able to identify. The cinderellas show: Saint Benedictus (Nursia, Germany, 480 - Montecassino, Italy, 547). Founder of the Western Monacate, and Patron of Europe. Montserrat monastery belongs to the Benedictine order. Abbot Oliba (?, Catalonia, 971 - Cuixà, Catalonia, 1046) one of Catalonia's fathers and founder of the Montserrat Monastery. Saint Francis of Assisi (Assisi, Italy, 1196 - 1226), Saint Ignatius of Loiola (Azpeitia, Basque Country, 1491 - Rome, 1556), Saint Joseph of Calassanç (Peralta de la Sal, Spain - Rome, 1648)& Saint Antoni Maria Claret (Sallent, Catalonia, 1807 - Fontfreda, France, 1870). Both, are said to have "mystical experiences" on the mountain. Josep Torras I Bages (Cabanyes, Catalonia, 1846 - Vic, Catalonia, 1916). Bishop of Vic and religious writter, that was very fond od Montserrat. Mossén Jacint Verdaguer (Folgueroles, Catalonia, 1845 - Sarrià, Catalonia, 1902). Priest and the most important Catalan poet, that wrote Montserrat hymn, the Virolai. The Virgin of Montserrat image in two sizes. A big. bicolour one and another, smaller in one ink. A view of the mountain, a rock with some climbers and one of the many hermits that are on the mountain. All cinderella were issued perforated, but imperforate also exist. Text is in Latin. As Catalan language was prohibited by Franco's fascist regime, and they didn't want to use the compulsory Spanish language; they preferred to use Latin, by then the official Catholic Church language, that not even Franco dared to ban. All but the Virgin small cinderella, have printed on the back the apportation: 0.50 pta for the Virgin cinderella and 0.25 pta for the others. In nowadays money, 0.5 pta should be about 1.20 € (1.6 US$). Sorry for the, too long, explanation.
Thank you very much for your encouraging words, Puzzler. I guess that most items I'm showing on this thread might look somewhat "exotic" for our fellows. As this is a true "never ending hobby" I've found two more colours of the 1936 Gràcia cinderella. I already own them.
Due to the general concern in Catalan society for Children's health, efforts were maid to send them on mountain stages, to breath fresh air and enjoy nature, away from city's crowded slums. For this reason worker's recreational societies, widespread in the 1930's Catalonia, issued Cinderellas to rise funds for children holiday camps on the Pyrenees (150 km North of Barcelona). Like this one, issued by Gràcia's Choral Society, and showing children trekking on a well known (for us) mountain resort. The price was 10 cents of pesseta.
On the late 1940's, there are some issues of official Catholic Church related cinderellas, as it was very much in the favour of the fascist regim; which called itself "National Cahtolic". The quality of them is clearly a setback compared to the Republican years ones. This is because most relevant artist sided with the Republic and were outside Catalonia or in the so called "interior exile", being here, but somewhat "invisible". Three cinderellas of a fund rising action for the Temple of Tibidabo, on the hills behind Barcelona, of a congress of Marian congregations and for rising money for the (now, worldwide known) Temple of la Sagrada Familia. With a drawing of the project.
In 1848, there was laid the first railway of the Iberian Peninsula. It run from Barcelona to Mataró (30 km NE of the capital) and was built by English engineers, by then the best of the world. 100 years later, there was a big exhibition and some cinderella were issued. There was a single one in a number of shades, showing a 1848 couple with the train on the background.
And a set of four different cinderella in four colours: ocre, green,lilac and red. Showing the locomotive, Miquel Biada (the father of the line), the Mataró station and a map of the railway.
The lay-out is also quite interesting, they were issued in 12 cinderella sheets:
One of my favourite cinderella of this period is the one issued for the 1951 Book's Day, that we celebrate on April 23rd. It's an unsigned wood engraving. This was quite common on that time, when for political reasons some artists were banned (o decided by themselves to set aside)from official works, but needed to eat... This cinderella looks to me as it was the work of Enric C. Ricart (Vilanova I la Geltrú, 1893 - 1960), that worked very much from 1920 onwards, and was a well known democrat and Catalan nationalist.
This cinderella, that was trimmed for later year's use, shows an image very charateristic of the pre-war Catalan style: A girl, reads a book by the sea (the Mediterranean) close to a green forest. The three very Catalan concepts of: Nature, Culture and Country (Catalonia), manage to surfice even in the dark night of the fascist regime.
As, despite of the nearly none feedback, there seems to be some interest on this thread I'll continue with it. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to pick, in a Barcelona stamp market, this cinderella (so, forgive me for the set back on the timeline):
This is from the 1913 winter sports competition celebrated by the "Centre Excursionista de Catalunya" (Catalonia's Treking Club)in the town of Ribes de Freser, on the Pyrenees.
Thank you again Puzzler fot your continous encouragement. I'm neither familiar with the Nova Scotia/Halifax cinderellas. Although Catalonia (35.000 sqkm) is half the size of Nova Scotia, it has 7.5 milion people and a recorded history of nearly 2.700 years. I would better compare it with other developped medium/small size Western/Central European nations, like the (old) Scotland, Eire, Flandes, Bohemia (now, Czech Republic), Holland, Denmark... Anyway, I'm not even showing the whole scope of Catalan cinderella, as I'm missing nearly all the pre-1939 Catalan Nationalist cinderellas, which goes farther than 1000 types, and many of the civil war ones. I don't collect them, as there are a number of friends who do, and they are quite expenssive and hard to find. I'm neither showing the cinderellas of the Album Catalunya, from 1933, with 300 different cinderellas in three colours (900 items in total); as I think they have a limited interest for non-Catalan people. I have most of them.
Thank you very much James for your nice words, but I'm not an expert on cinderellas to write anything on it. There are people around me with greater knowledge that could do it better, although they're not able to write in English. I'm just an amateur who's glad to share his knowledge with friends from al around the world, so his little country's culture is better known. As for the cinderellas that you show; they were printed on sheets with 20 different cinderella on them. I was offered some, sometime ago in our city stamp market. I didn't buy them, as the money was tight. They show different landmarks and people related to Manresa. Iberia Cultural Filatelica, was founded in 1922 by the Barcelona's philatelist tradesman Enric Puigferrat I Queralt, to enhance the exchange of stamps in the Spanish speaking world. I had the chance of meeting this man, when, as a fresher in philathely, I was a customer of his stamp shop in Barcelona's old town. He was my first teacher in philately.
A cinderella issued by a Barcelona top class restaurant for the 1929 exhibition, circulated on a 1938 French letter; or at least stuck to a 1938 French letter, who knows? But a nice cinderella, anyway.
Just as a sample, I show two cinderellas of the "Album Catalunya" (April - October 1933). The first one depicts Pau Casals, better known worldwide by the Spanish translation of "Pablo Casals", (el Vendrell, Catalonia, 1876 - Puerto Rico, USA, 1973). Perhaps the best cello payer in the history. Author of the UN anthem, he played in 1963 at the White House for Pres. JFK.
Pau/Pablo Ruiz Picasso (Málaga, Spain, 1881 - Mougins, France, 1973) Although, Spanish born, Picasso spent all his youth in Barcelona, where he had lifelong friends, spoke fluent Catalan and considered himself one of us. So, its fit that he's is on the Catalunya Album, among the other Catalan painters of the time.
The Catalan text under the cinderella reads: "The purest modern painting representative. The colectionists compete for his works"