The Royal Mail is a postal service and courier company in the United Kingdom, originally established in 1516 when Henry VIII created a "Master of the Posts" position. For most of its history the Royal Mail has been a public service, operating as a government department or a state-owned enterprise. It was privatised in 2013 when a majority of its shares were floated on the London Stock Exchange. The Royal Mail owns and maintains the UK's distinctive red pillar boxes, first introduced in 1852, many of which bear the initials of the monarch. The company's subsidiary, Royal Mail Group Limited, operates the brands Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide, which process letters and parcels respectively. General Logistics Systems, an international logistics company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Mail Group.
This picture is an oil-on-canvas painting by British artist Charles Cooper Henderson, entitled Mail Coaches on the Road: the Louth–London Royal Mail Progressing at Speed, produced in Chertsey some time between 1820 and 1830. The painting, part of the Paul Mellon Collection, is now located in the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut.
Painting credit: Charles Cooper Henderson