I like the odd bit of post, indeed, the odder the better. Over the last week or so, quite a few strange and curious items have arrived through my letterbox pertaining to the blog. One of the most interesting of these items, is a book published by Princeton Architectural Press about an eccentric Victorian Englishman who was responsible for sending over thirty two thousand postal curios through the mail in an attempt to challenge and perplex the postal authorities. “The Englishman Who Posted Himself And Other Curious Objects” is a delightful and playful book which documents the life of W. Reginald Bray, a mischievous prankster, who after reading the regulations published by Post Office in 1898 set about testing the limits, patience and problem solving skills of countless postal workers. The book lovingly details Bray’s endless passion for sending unusual and bizarre items through the post ranging from a bowler hat, a turnip, an old bicycle pump to a wide variety of oddly addressed postcards. The book is consistently engaging in both form and content and I was extremely impressed by the exquisite typography, layout and graphic presentation by designer Deb Wood. Throughout the book, Bray comes across like a playful, latter-day conceptual artist, constantly striving to out manoeuvre postal legislation through a consistent application of weird invention and eccentric wit. This is a superb book and highly recommended. My hat is doffed to researcher, John Tingey for writing and curating such a wonderful oddity.
I am deeply indebted to the publishers, Princeton Architectural Press for supporting the blog by generously sending a review copy.