Books & Roses

Painting by the Canadian artist Janet Hill

Postcard sent by Heleen (the Netherlands) for St George's 2016.  It arrived a bit late, so I never posted it. It can do for this year, can't it?

April 23rd is Saint George's Day, and in my country we celebrate the Books and Roses Festival. You are still on time to buy a book and/or a rose for someone you love!

#AtoZChallenge | S is for Superlambanana


The Superlambanana & Mersey Ferry on a postcard sent by John (the UK).

Superlambanana is a bright yellow sculpture located in Liverpool (the UK), Weighing almost eight tons and standing at 17 feet tall, it is intended to be a cross between a banana and a lamb and was designed by Japanese artist Taro Chiezo. In 2008, as part of Liverpool's year-long position as European Capital of Culture, 125 individually designed miniature replicas were created.

I wonder... What do the Superlambananas eat?


#AtoZChallenge | R is for Relics


Postcard sent by Bruno, showing the Relics Chapel of the Royal Monastery of the Incarnation (Real Monasterio de la Encarnación) in Madrid, Spain. 

I like to receive postcards from such original places! The sender wrote that the number of the relics of saints there, and the containers, were amazing. Would you like to visit this creepy place?


#AtoZChallenge | Q is for Quail, Quidditch & Quibbler


Today I introduce you Quinnlyn the Quail, on a postcard sent by Bryon (the USA) especially for the challenge. With a beautiful postmark as a bonus!

There are even two games with the letter Q on the back. The last question (Can you spot the hidden letter in Quinnilyn the Quail?) isn't intended for adult recipients. But I let the first to you:


Are you:
  • Quirky
  • Quiet
  • Quick
  • Quotable
  • Quaint
  • Queen-like?
(My option is the last one, of course!)

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I know: Quail, Quiditch and Quibbler have nothing to do. But I started the #AtoZChallenge asking for help with some letters. Help arrived by mail... and reorganised some posts. 


Envelope sent by Phillip (the USA), with an illustration of the poster of the 422nd Quidditch World Cup. [Update: it also appears in the Q-post of Phillip's blog, envelope100. His challenge is dedicated to mail art.]

It included, among others, a postcard with the same design (that I coloured and re-sent):


Another about The Quibbler. (For non-Harry Potter fans: The Quibbler is a wizarding tabloid, considered rubbish by some people, that publishes odd articles, including conspiracy theories and discussions of imaginary creatures.)


And perfectly matching stamps:


#AtoZChallenge | P is for Paradise

Because the paradise must be a kind of library...

Rijsmuseum Library
Heleen (the Netherlands) sent me all these reading people in a row. All the paintings, and the library, are located in the Rijksmuseum (that I absolutely need to visit!).

What books do you think these people are reading?


Portrait of Alida Christina Assink, 1833 
Jan Adam Kruseman

Old Woan Reading, c. 1631 
Gerard Dou

An Old Woman Reading,
Probably the Prophetess Hannah
, 1631 
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn

The Wardens of the Amsterdam Drapers' Guild
(Known as The Syndics), 1662

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn

#AtoZChallenge | O is for Obverse

This is the front the postcard I got!
Bientôt le retour. Meilleurs amitiés
['I will come back soon. Best wishes']

This is the obverse (the front and illustrated side) of a postcard sent sent by Phillip (the USA).

Should I add it to the lighthouses album? Because it is a reproduction of the reverse of a postcard that used to feature a lighthouse. I would have liked to see it, too!




Anyway, it is something nice and strange at the same time, to read these personal messages, somehow banal, written so many years ago. On this postcard, arrived with the one above, the original message was dated in 1911:

Versailles, le 5 - 2- 11
En ce moment je suis débordé de travail ce qui m'oblige a rester enfermé le dimanche, d'ailleurs, comme il faut mauvais temps, cela m'est égal. Je suis en bonne santé. Embrassez toute la famille de ma part; je vous embrasse 
de tout cœur
['Right now I am overwhelmed with work, which obliges me to stay locked up on Sunday. However, as the weather is bad, it does not matter to me. I am in good health. Embrace the whole family on my behalf; I embrace you with all my heart']

I wonder if some of the postcards I have sent will finish in a flea-market. Or maybe they had, already. How would you feel about that?


#AtoZChallenge | N is for Nature

Auroras over Ylläs
Sent by Laura (Finland)


Sent by Heleen (the Netherlands)


Armstrong Woods (Guerneville, California)
Sent by Bryon (the USA)


Rainbow Falls (Hawaii)
Sent by Bryon (the USA)


Bisons in Yellowstone National Park
Sent by Bryon (the USA)

Bonus: This one arrived with a wonderful matching stamp and postmark!



Do you prefer to receive this kind of postcards, or the urban type?


#AtoZChallenge | M is for Maps

Many ways to see the world is the slogan of this company, written on the back of this postcard sent by Bryon (the USA). Every map is a way to see the world. Also every postcard is.

The Population Map: Each country is shown proportional to its population. Each square of the grid on the map represents a million people. From the perspective of population, China is the biggest country in the world! India is not far behind. The USA is the third largest. Can you guess the number four?


Two more funny maps on postcards, sent by Laura (the UK):

How to Be British No. 2
Artwork by Martyn Ford

By Ray Holland

A more conventional map showing the island of Texel in the Netherlands, sent by Heleen:



And a bonus: an envelope made of a page of a magazine, featuring an old map of Columbus (Ohio, the USA), sent by Phillip. Ancient maps are also another way to see the world, aren't they?


Do you like maps? And... Don't you love that Moon over the city?


(In case you feel curious, you have a list of the countries by population here. Have you guessed right?)

#AtoZChallenge | L is for Little Red Riding Hood


Little Red Riding Hood is a character I love. I had not seen this version by Fiep Westendorp until Heleen (the Netherlands) sent it to me in the shape of a postcard. The same illustration appears on the selvage of this wonderful (wonderful, wonderful!) sheet of stamps issued last year. Can you spot her?




And there is another version on the following postcard, also sent by Heleen:


But, besides Little Red Riding Hood, the Fairy Tale Wood, by Molly Brett (1902-1990) includes A LOT of fairy tales characters on one single illustration:




  • Puss in Boots
  • Hansel & Grethel
  • Cinderella
  • Snow White
  • The Twelve Swans
  • The Three Piglets
  • The Ugly Duckling
  • The Red Shoes
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • Petter Rabbit 
  • The Chinese Nightingale (Thanks, Heleen! Again)
  • Sleeping Beauty (Thanks, Donna!)
  • The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs (Thanks, Phillip!)
  • The Golden Bird (Thanks, Eva!)
  • Dick Whittington and His Cat (Thanks, Anne!)
  • Saint George (Thanks, Anne!)
  • ...


  • Are other characters on the postcard that I have missed?


    #AtoZChallenge | K is for Kites

    By Dick Bruna
    Postcard sent by Heleen (the Netherlands).


    What a Scorcher, by Peter Adderley
    Postcard sent by John (the UK)

    Every theme you can think of, there are postcards illustrating it!

    Flying kites is a recently discovered hobby. When was the last time that you tried something new?


    #AtoZChallenge | I is for Illustrators


    It had been a long time since I had added a Smurf to the album! This Schtrompfvache or Smurf cow, drawn by the French cartoonist Michel Cambon, was sent by Heleen (the Netherlands).

    On the envelope, and inside, more Smurfs appeared, along with some Dick Bruna's (recently passed away) stamps.



    Smurfs (on comics, not on TV) were my heroes as a child. But I did not met Miffy until adulthood. Have you discovered any children character as an adult? Which one was your favourite in your childhood?

    #AtoZChallenge | H is for Harper's Birds

    Among many other things, I have discovered some artists thanks to postcards. So I am grateful to FinnBadger (the USA) because he introduced me in the Charley Harper's world. Then he sent me more beautiful postcards with reproductions of Harper's birds:

    Indigo Bunting

    Skimmerscape

    Mystery of the Missing Migrants 

    What/Who have you discovered thanks to postcards or mail?