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Blog > Postcrossing Spotlight: chrisbonham11 from the UK!


Chris (aka chrisbonham11)'s profile caught our attention because of his quest to find a set of postcards featuring the Qing court version of “Up the River During Qingming”, a beautiful painting which can be seen at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Normally, when you buy a postcard at a museum, the postcard will feature a whole painting… but this 11 meter scroll has so much going on that numerous postcards were created to feature its different scenes! Chris took the time to tell us about his quest and his other passions, on this spotlight interview!

How did you get started sending postcards? What is your earliest memory of them?

When I was a child, my family and I would send postcards to relatives from our holidays. We also received postcards from our relatives from their holidays. I especially remember postcards from my Nan, which she sent from her trips to other parts of the UK.

How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

How exactly I came across Postcrossing back in 2014 is now lost in the mists of time, alas! I believe that I found out about it thanks to an online news article though. As somebody who studied abroad on exchange for a year during their degree, and at the time was just starting out on a career in international education, any opportunity to connect with folks abroad really appealed. I was also looking for opportunities to practice my German and Dutch, and quickly found out that there are a lot of speakers of both languages who are postcrossers. I had a little stash of postcards from museums and galleries already to hand and ready to share, so I was good to go.

A freshly painted, bright red pillar postbox
Show us your mailbox, your mail carrier, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!

I use any one of a number of local postboxes for my outgoing postcards, depending on where I’m heading when I head out and about. I think I saw somewhere that the UK has among the densest distribution of postboxes of any country in the world, which if true is why I have so much choice! The postbox I use most frequently though is this one, located on the university campus where I work. This photo was taken in August 2023, when it had just had a fresh coat of paint.

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

For me, it is picking out the best postcard I can for the recipient. I read every profile in full, and then have a look at their received and favourite postcard galleries. I’ve developed a greater interest in (and stash of) postage stamps over the past couple of years, hence where I can I also try to use one or more which match the recipient’s interests to pay the postcard’s way.

Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.

If I have to pick favourite postcards, they’re those I’ve been sent from the artwork Up The River During Qingming!

A reproduction of a 18th century painting, featuring lots of small figures crossing a stone bridge, on a busy festive day

I’ve received parts #3 from gene1128 (TW-3307201), #6 from ipyngtsai (TW-2990803), #9 from Pe-June (TW-2524342), #23 from EmilieLin (TW-3336740) and #24 from chuanH (TW-3077188).

I bought a set of postcards of this artwork from the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, when I visited nine years ago. After I shared the set with other postcrossers, I wondered if I could rebuild the set from postcards sent to me by others. Folks may have had to go to extra trouble to obtain and send me one of these postcards (and the postcrosser who sent me four cards from the set and let me know that the Museum shop was no longer selling it certainly did go to extra trouble), hence the extra appreciation. Thank you again!

Have you been surprised by any place that you have received a postcard from or sent a postcard to?

For received postcards, it has to be Bahrain, Belize, Brunei, and Guam, four of the less common places postcrossers are from / visit in travel mode. I don’t think that any other sent postcard can match the one which took 284 days to reach its recipient in Vietnam! Never give up hope on those travelling postcards, folks, even post-60 day expiry!

Have you met any other members in real life?

For over six of the nearly ten years I’ve been a postcrosser, I beavered away at it alone. I wasn’t a user of the old forum, being a bit intimidated by the formatting. I joined the new, friendlier formatted (to me) forum in early 2021, and since then have got to know a grand bunch of people in the British Isles section. It’s a lovely corner of the Internet. I attended my first meet-up in December 2022, meeting a few of these folks and others, and haven’t looked back. I managed to attend five meet-ups in 2023, including one I hosted around Halloween in Reading. JennyAssis helped with designing the meet-up postcard for that one (thank you again, Jenny!).

Halloween Meet up Postcard, back and front
What’s one way that postcards have changed your life for the better?

The whole process of Postcrossing, from drawing an address, picking out postcard and stamps, and writing a message, is an escape for me. If I’ve had a particularly large postal delivery in one day, I can spend an hour or more reading and registering postcards and writing thank you messages to their senders. During the days of Covid lockdowns, Postcrossing kept me occupied and connected to others. While others completed Netflix, I sent and received a lot of postcards!

Is there anything else that you are passionate about?

Real ale! I’ll be wandering around Reading and east Berkshire come the Spring taking in pubs on the local CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) ale trail. Postcrossing friends can attest to this: I left a meet-up last summer early so that I could return to Reading to collect the t-shirt which was the reward for visiting all the pubs on last year’s trail!

International education is also a passion; I’m still working in the field, and haven’t tired of helping students realise an exchange like I did.

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29 comments so far

FairyFoot, United Kingdom

Wow! Congrats Chris on a great spotlight interview.

Oscar1, Germany

Hello Chris, you are a postcrosser after my own heart. I also try to match recipients and postcards as good as possible and look for a matching stamp. Of course, as a former stamp professional I feel challenged to do so. Keep the good work up, Oskar.

DianeM, United States of America

Hello Chris, I like your description of having many post boxes to choose from. There are none in my neighborhood. Postcards leave from our front mailbox or are ferried to one of two post offices I pass by on my errands. Thanks, meiadeleite, for an engaging and well-written article.

jjmedusa, United States of America

Hi Chris! It was great getting to know you from this spotlight! And it's also great that Postcrossing has this feature so that we can get to know people from around the world! :)

MoominMog, United Kingdom

So pleased to see a forum friend featured in the blog, hopefully catch you at a meet up soon Chris 💌😊

Kristi-D, United States of America

I can relate to past purchases being some of my favorite cards to send and collect. I have a few purchased during my pre-Postcrossing days, which I haven't yet been able to part with. They're waiting for just the right recipient!
Great interview--it's wonderful to learn more about our fellow Postcrossers!

CorgiGirl, United States of America

Great interview. I hope you are able to complete the set of Up The River Qingming. I always enjoy reading about other Postcrossers. Thank you.

figtrees, United Kingdom

Great to read this, Chris :)

pbjohnny5, United States of America

Hi Chris! I got my start with postcards from a set of 20 postcards depicting the Chinese scroll painting "Prosperous Suzhou". They came perforated but still intact in their matching tin. Here's one of them:

I bought the set for one dollar at a yard sale. I was searching the internet for stamp prices, found Postcrossing, and here I remain. I still have the tin - it holds all my stamps!

If I ever see Up the River During Qingming postcards, I'll be sure to grab them. Keep an eye out for Prosperous Suzhou :) I've never seen another tin in ten years.

Casehandler, United Kingdom

Nice one, Chris - great blog! 🙂👍

tesc, United Kingdom

Super article 👏
I love our British corner too - wonderfully friendly people - Thankyou

Demmi, Romania

Great interview! #Kudos to both of you! 👏👏👏

beesknees, United States of America

Enjoyed reading this interview

Angelthepup22, United States of America

This was a great interview!

charzevans, United Kingdom

Fantastic blog post, I love the passion with which you speak about our wonderful way of life that is Postcrossing!!
Can't wait to meet up soon.

Zulhma, Argentina

Hello. Thank you very much for sharing the experiences you have had in postcrossing. How fortunate that I was able to do exchanges during the pandemic. It's wonderful how postal services work in your country. They do not lose correspondence. I'm glad to hear how well postcrossing works for you. Thanks for the note.

sandhurst, United Kingdom

Lovely to read, Chris! 😄

sonataca, United States of America

Great interview!

QueQ, United States of America

What a cool quest to be I have to go thru my (GIANT) stash of postcards to see if I have a piece of the puzzle. I was in Taiwan in 1991 (and, yep, still have cards i purchased from then...🤪)and I know I visited a museum in Taipei...but was it that museum? Honestly I don't recall.
But if I do, I'll definitely let you know! Alas, where I live, they've been on a steady hunt to remove our blue, public street mailboxes... they're more and more difficult to find, but luckily I've got a post office on my route to work at the vet! I'm intrigued...infatuated!!.. with Postcrossing. I hope to participate for many years to come....kq...QueQ

Flippie, Canada

Thank you for sharing your story, Chris.

sacdalton, United States of America

A wonderful look into the "who/what/why" of postcrossing. Thanks for the nice post.

EmmaEirene, United Kingdom

This is a wonderful read Chris. I am very new to Postcrossing, and have been made to feel very welcome. Hopefully, like you, I will still be here 10 years on...

simonse3, United Kingdom

Excellent piece. I have found so few cards get postmarks from the UK, and had so many complaints (!) about this. I now send mine in batches and hand post over the counter in my friendly local post office where they dutifully hand stamp every one of them. I have had some nice feedback, so I hope Postcrossers appreciate the effort this takes. I'm lucky to still have post office where I live I know (Blackheath Village in London SE3).

Pacomole, France

Very interesting interview and a story that's a bit like my own. I take particular care to find a postcard that matches the correspondent's wishes as closely as possible. And of course, as I'm a philatelist, I post it with a beautiful stamp. I want to give as much pleasure as I get when I receive a beautiful postcard with exotic stamps.
Concerning the artwork "Up The River Durant Qingming!" it makes me think of Hiroshige's historic work "The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō" or Hokusai's "Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji". That's got to make for one nice of a card collection!
Let's combine business with pleasure: connection doesn't prevent collecting.
Thank you for this inspiring interview.

Matvey-, Belarus


Zhihcheng, China

Really love "Up The River Durant Qingming". It's called 清明上河图 in Chinese, created in 18th century Qing Dynasty. It's regarded as one of the most prestigious and famous ancient Chinese paintings for its incredible size (it is 11 meters long) and detail allowing us to perceive multiple jobs and life in the Qing Dynasty firsthand and accurately. I only had the pleasure of seeing it once in Beijing, a forbidden city, and since I was too young I can't remember if it was a replica or it was the real one. I always wanted to see it again but since the political upheaval, I wasn't able to travel to Taipei.

I'd love to provide Chinese art-related postcards if you are interested. And I do have the big scroll version of "Up The River Durant Qingming". I can share it if anyone is interested.

Thank you for the interview.

alison41, South Africa

Thanks for the spotlight interview with Chris. His "Up The River Durant Qingming" is going to keep him busy for a while, I'd say.

Luziaceleste, Brazil

So nice to read about how Postcrossing enters our lives in similar ways. One world, definitely.

Powell, South Africa

Hi Chris
I enjoyed your interview. You are so fortunate to have so many post boxes. I am from Pietermaritzburg in South Africa and the one and only Post Office and red letterbox in my neighbourhood was closed down and dismantled to make way for a bicycle shop! I have to post cards via DHL Courier as our Postal Services are dysfunctional. I miss not being able to affix postage stamps to my cards. Happy Postcrossing.

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