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Show RCA 2019

Rosemary Byford

Show RCA work


In the Bluff: Humour in British Picture Postcards 1894-1914

Objects that have been visibly customised have a lasting imprint that provide the design historian with a fantastic insight into how an object has been used and, in turn, a glimpse in to how people and society have operated. My research has included the examination of Victorian jewellery expertly adapted from sentimental family heirlooms, through to cheap, mass-produced postcards which are meant to be customised by the sender when they add a personal message. 

My dissertation investigates how the humour and design of Edwardian picture postcards influenced communication, and how the senders of the humorous postcards customised them. The informality of the picture postcard and the messages they contain are a great way to get a glimpse in to the everyday experience of a past era – and humorous picture postcards provide a particularly informal medium to examine everyday life. Humorous postcards invited individuals to reveal their informal, playful side by interacting with and personalising the joke.


  • A design historian with a background in public policy. My interests are in how objects are used, customised and reused.
  • Previous degrees

  • BEng (Hons) Textile Manufacture with Clothing Studies, University of Huddersfield
  • Publications

  • More Than Meets the Eye – Repurposed Hungarian Buttons at the V&A, in Jewellery History Today, Autumn 2018, p.8
Royal College of Art