Your Cart: £0.00
Visit the Shop
Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first became a part of popular culture, perhaps seen as a miniature representation of the cosmos. Over the centuries packs of cards have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages, transformation or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. One aspect is the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed. They also open perspectives of different cultures, eras, religions, races, classes, genders, sexual orientations, age groups, even different species and forms of life which coexist in the world today.

From the Blog

Our blog on playing cards, current Kickstarter campaigns and projects from around the web View More →

Oracle & Divination

Cartomancy and modern esoteric tarot packs have been conjured in a wide variety of conceptions. They involve use of imagination and intuition to assess one’s own thoughts and feelings from the view point of the symbolic images. This is finding meaning and answers for oneself, rather than having blind faith in authority such as in religion. View More →


The best-known fantasies with playing cards are the ‘Transformation’ cards. Hand-drawing ‘transformations’ onto a pack of ordinary playing cards, with the suit symbols forming part of the overall composition, became a popular pastime 200 years ago and a test of skill in drawing. A great deal of ingenuity is required in their design. The earliest printed sets were published at the start of the 19th century, often published in the form of an almanac or sometimes known as ‘metastasis’, and these became a fashionable and entertaining novelty. View More →


The portrayal of national or ethnic identity on playing cards reflects the different cultural backgrounds, native communities and language groups which co-exist in the world today, celebrating their accomplishments, art and histories. The indigenous capacity to assert itself with dignity in the face of modernity shines through these cards. Sometimes their costumes are better than the fashion industry. View More →

Patience & Miniature

Patience and miniature playing cards - sometimes these are just a small version of a normal deck, or else special ‘pocket-sized’ or ‘patience-sized’ packs; sometimes they are made as children’s toys or given away as free gifts with products. View More →


Playing cards arrived in Europe the late 14th century and rapidly became a part of popular culture. Antique playing cards are like a visit to the local museum and evoke images of past eras and ways of life and also demonstrate archaic technology or production methods. So what do the oldest surviving playing cards look like? View More →


Political playing cards were introduced in the 17th century providing entertainment by satirising or deriding current events and leaders. Propaganda cards, Imperial decks, war cards and even educational card games all carry a message which relates to the politics of memory, the means by which events are remembered and recorded, the way history is written and passed on... View More →

back to top