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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first became a part of popular culture, perhaps seen as a miniature model of the universe. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. Their popularity is undoubtedy due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Latest Articles

Fair Play cross cultural playing cards

Posted by Simon Wintle •  April 19, 2017 at 02:45pm

“Fair Play” cross cultural playing cards illustrated by Canadian artist Stephen B. MacInnes Read more →

Progressive Whist Cards

Posted by Simon Wintle •  April 18, 2017 at 08:12pm

There are references to “progressive whist” or “whist drives” during the 19th and early years of the 20th century but this form of the game came into its own during the 1920s and 30s Read more →

Aleister Crowley Tarot – the sombre luminary

Posted by Simon Wintle •  April 12, 2017 at 06:58pm

Aleister Crowley Tarot - Crowley and Lady Freda Harris worked on the illustrations between 1938 and 1943 Read more →

East African Playing Cards

Posted by Simon Wintle •  April 11, 2017 at 06:56pm

East African Playing Cards by Heraclio Fournier S.A., 1957 Read more →

Chérie

Posted by Simon Wintle •  April 08, 2017 at 11:16am

Chérie No 7022 designed by Hans & Louise Neupert, nice vibrant artwork, swinging 60s Read more →

The Summer Palace

Posted by Simon Wintle •  April 07, 2017 at 04:44pm

The Summer Palace, Beijing, China, c.1998 Read more →

Adelaide Casino

Posted by Simon Wintle •  April 06, 2017 at 07:46pm

Adelaide Casino by Spicers Paper Ltd, 1987 Read more →

Biermans Genoese pattern for Clayson

Posted by Simon Wintle •  April 06, 2017 at 12:15pm

Biermans Genoese pattern for Clayson agricultural machinery, late 1960s Read more →

The Blue Train (Bloutrein)

Posted by Simon Wintle •  April 04, 2017 at 05:18pm

“The Blue Train” playing cards from the luxury train service in South Africa, c.1980 Read more →

Mayall Press Art Studies

Posted by Simon Wintle •  March 22, 2017 at 09:02pm

Photographic playing cards - each face having an "art study" of a female nude, Mayall Press, Stockwell, London, c.1946. Read more →

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