Hobbies: Mr. Barnard's Slip

The Governor's wife was giving a fancy-dress ball, and she decided that the invitations should go out bearing the latest thing—postage stamps. The year was 1847, and stamps had just been authorized for the Indian Ocean colony of Mauritius, which her husband administered. So she asked that old, half-blind Mr. Barnard, the island's watchmaker, jeweler and amateur engraver, finish the island's first stamps as soon as possible.

On a small copper plate such as might be used to engrave a visiting card, Mr. Barnard cut a pretty profile of the young Queen Victoria,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!