QUEEN AND COUNTRY - A Project by Steve McQueen

Over 20,000 people have signed up to The Art Fundâ??s petition in support of Steve McQueenâ??s project, Queen and Country and his vision for a set of official postage stamps to commemorate service men and women who have lost their lives in the conflict in Iraq.

  • © PA Photos
  • © PA Photos

Official war artist and Turner Prize winner Steve McQueen, collaborated with 160 families whose loved ones lost their lives in Iraq. He created a cabinet containing a series of facsimile postage sheets, each one dedicated to a deceased soldier. The Art Fund, the UK's leading art charity, presented this cabinet to the Imperial War Museum in November 2007 and toured the work around the UK between 2007 and 2010.

Queen and Country was created by Steve McQueen in response to a visit he made to Iraq in 2003 following his appointment by the Imperial War Museum's Art Commissions Committee as an official UK war artist. Queen and Country was also commissioned by Manchester International Festival.

During the six days McQueen spent in Iraq, he was moved and inspired by the camaraderie of the servicemen and women that he met. He proposed that portraits of those who have lost their lives during the conflict be issued as stamps by Royal Mail.

'An official set of Royal Mail stamps struck me as an intimate but distinguished way of highlighting the sacrifice of individuals in defence of our national ideals.

The stamps would focus on individual experience without euphemism. It would form an intimate reflection of national loss that would involve the families of the dead and permeate the everyday – every household and every office.'  Steve McQueen

While discussions were under way with Royal Mail, Steve made Queen and Country - a cabinet containing a series of facsimile postage sheets bearing multiple portrait heads, each one dedicated to an individual, with details of name, regiment, age and date of death printed in the margin.

The images were chosen by the families of the deceased.

Viewers are invited to pull out the double-sided panels bearing the sheets from a wooden box and thereby create an intimate space to contemplate the imagery.

However, until Royal Mail agrees to issue the stamps, the artist considers the overall work incomplete. The Art Fund is spearheading the campaign to gain public support for Steve's vision for Royal Mail to officially issue the stamps.

Some key media coverage

The Times, Richard Morrison Comment

Why is the Royal Mail blocking McQueen's Queen and Country?

The Sunday Telegraph, Roya Nikkhah

The Stamp of Remembrance

Guardian blogger, Jonathan Jones

Steve McQueen's war memorial gets my stamp of approval

The Scotsman

The Last Post

The Telegraph

The New Face of Remembrance

The Guardian

McQueen's Stamp Battle Goes North

The Scotsman

"They put robins on stamps - why not our sons who died in Iraq"

The Times

Artist unveils tribute to troops killed in Iraq

BBC News

Artist campaigns for stamps war tribute

The Independent

“Joan Bakewell: Let's see these soldiers' faces on our stamps”

The Sun

Fallen soldiers 'not honoured'

BBC News

‘Public Support’ Iraq Stamp Tribute

News Wales

Wales wants stamps to honour troops

The Sunday Times

The Daily Telegraph

'Imperial War Museum: The poignant power of the 'war' artists

The Sun

'Call for hero soldiers on stamps'

The Guardian

'Petition to honour Britain's soldiers on stamps launched'

The Financial Times

'War campaign stamps for dead soldiers'

The Guardian

'In praise of..stamps for soliders'

The Daily Mail

'I don't ever think I'll be fine again' says mother who lost her daughter in Iraq roadside bomb