José Martínez de Castro (active 1795-1819) made his debut into the world of playing cards with this magnificent piece of work, which was deservedly a huge success and saw many editions. The early editions were self-published by Martínez de Castro himself , but later editions (after c.1815) were published by Josef Monjardín, Clemente de Roxas and Andrés Castellanos. The detail of design in the vignettes on the fours and the aces is very fine. This example is from the second (censored) edition of 1812, in which extra drapery has been added to the miniature nude figures. The model was copied by manufacturers in Spain, Italy and France, and is still used today in Sardinia. →
All members of the swords suit are in full armour and the sotas wear plumed helmets. The plates are usually printed in brown and carefully hand-painted with water-colours, and this example has been professionally painted in an accomplished and colourful manner.