Illustrator Harriet Russell has been testing the patience and willpower of the UK’s Royal Mail postal service with a series of coded envelopes. As part of her studies at the Glasgow School of Art, the young artist set about disguising her address within puzzles, illustrations, anagrams, crosswords, maps and optical illusions. The illustrator’s initial experiment contained a mirror image of her address. The envelope arrived at her door within standard local delivery time.
Despite fears of a Royal Mail backlash, Russell found the system more than willing to play her game. The crossword edition was returned completed with the comment “Solved by the Glasgow Mail Centre”. Only 10 of the 130 letters posted lost their way through the system, some held particularly testing anagrams, others were without a postal code.
I have never spoken to anyone and no one has come forward…But it is clear they were taking part and involving themselves in it.
I was really quite amazed. I didn’t know who was doing it. I imagined there was a small group of them and I think they must have caught on because a lot of them were to the same address.
Letter embellishment is a family tradition, with Harriet’s great-great-great grandfather Henry Ponsonby, and son Arthur Ponsonby decorating delivery instructions with quirky illustrations.
Russell’s envelopes have been reproduced in her book, Envelopes: A Puzzling Journey Through the Royal Mail.
[via Laughing Squid]