Transformation Playing Cards are those in which the pip cards have been integrated into an overall design thereby 'transforming' the playing card into a miniature graphic artwork. The pips must retain their traditional position and shape, so it is sometimes difficult to create a good design. The idea became popular at the beginning of the 19th century as a pastime, when packs were often 'transformed' by hand using pen and ink. 19th century hand-drawn packs are now extremely scarce... some of them contain racial caricatures or stereotypes which might be incorrect today, showing how social attitudes have changed since then.
The cards illustrated below first appeared as plates in "The Repository of Arts, Literature, Fashion etc." published by Ackermann in 1818-19. There were 52 cards in total.
Some very attractive designs have been printed in larger editions. A selection of such cards is illustrated below: