The latest articles from Barney Townshend
Karl Gerich’s hand-made design No.22: “Rouennais”, Victoria P.C.C, Bath (UK), 1990.
Hand-drawn transformation pack dated 1874 with the name Thomas Walters on the ace of spades.
A book titled “On The Cards” or “A Motley Pack” by Garnet Walch (1843-1913) was published in Melbourne (Australia) and illustrated by George Gordon McCrae in 1875.
Transformation cards designed and engraved by Vincenz Raimund Grüner, Vienna, 1809
An early 19th century set of hand-painted transformation playing cards depicting contemporary scenes from Georgian society
Two similar but fascinatingly different hand-drawn transformation decks by the same artist, c.1875
Transformation playing cards hand-drawn on a pack manufactured by Hunt’s Playing Card Manufacturing Co Ltd c.1880
Transformation playing cards designed by Carl Johann Arnold (1829-1916), the court artist for King Friedrich Wilhem IV of Prussia
Beautiful Bath is a hand-made pack by Karl Gerich which was published in 1996.
Quénioux believed that aesthetic feelings are the highest values: “C’est précisément cet amour de l’artisan pour le travail qu’il accomplit, la satisfaction intime qu’il en éprouve, qui ont donné naissance à tous les arts et qui ont fait dire que l’art est la joie dans le travail”.
Published by the Hycrest Playing Card Co., New York, c.1931. The large suit symbol behind each figure enhances the visual impact of the deck, as does the splendid back design & Joker.
Imperial Royal Playing Cards published by S. & J. Fuller, 34 Rathbone Place, London, 1828. The court cards show bust portraits of historical figures of England, Spain, Turkey and France.
Designed by Reuben Townroe (1835‑1911), the artist who designed the ornamented terra cotta work on the exterior of the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Aluminium playing cards manufactured by Häusermann United Chemical and Metal Engraving Co., Vienna, c.1925
Publicity playing cards for the Dutch credit company Sitters & van der Kar. The four Aces and Joker feature abstract geometric designs in the style of Art Deco.
On “Past-L-Eze” playing cards Kings, Queens and Jacks are no longer stodgy and conventional but pleasingly reflect suspicion, flirtation and worry.
Sports-themed playing cards published by Badische Spielkartenfabrik, Baden, c.1930
Transformation playing cards designed by the illustrator, comic artist and stage designer ‘Alfred Crowquill’ (Alfred Henry Forrester, 1804-72), printed by Reynolds & Sons, c.1850.
Possibly one of the most beautiful decks produced for commercial purposes, this was printed by Modiano for the Austrian Lloyd Steamship Company of Trieste in c.1895
Goodall’s “Japanesque” brand was used for stationery products since around 1880 but these playing cards were added to the range in around 1900.
Lighting in submarines involved wearing red goggles to preserve night vision for viewing instrument panels. The goggles solved one problem but created another: the red suits on playing cards were not visible through the red goggles.
William Kimberley applied for a patent in respect of his improved playing cards in February 1892 and his application was fully accepted that year.
This edition has standard corner indices replacing the words King, Queen and Jack, and also contains a “Jolly Joker” depicting a lady holding an Ace of Hearts.
Period cartoon images from the 1930s. The Kings are in fancy dress ready to party, the Queens appear ready for socialising whilst the Jacks are already on the go.
“Luxus Bridgekort” was specially designed by Barbara MacDonald in a vibrant Art Deco style for Warburg of Denmark in c.1930, and printed by Universal Playing Card Co. Ltd (England).
The court cards in this delightful Art Deco pack represent persons in various colourfully embroidered folkloric costumes. Designed by Hungarian artist Ilona Radnainé Szöredi.
“26th Yankee Division Playing Cards” was designed by Alban B. Butler, Jr and printed by the Press of the Woolly Whale, New York, in 1933.
Promotional playing cards for the Paramount film company with film stars on the court cards.
An ‘Old Frizzle’ Ace of Spades was assigned to them in 1833. In 1853 James L. & J. Turnbull were listed as ‘Makers of Playing Cards, Pasteboard, Paper Glossers and Pressers and Drawing Board Makers.
Promotional playing cards for the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film company with film stars on the court cards.
The combination of shapes and colours in these playing cards creates a vibrant and eye-catching surreal effect.
There are two Aces to each suit; one plain and the other with figures of a young woman and man, presumably Merry Andrew and his girl-friend.
Brussels Euro Joker Club's 10th Anniversary deck, with artwork by Yvette Cleuter, was produced in a limited, signed and numbered edition of 400 copies.
Walter Scharff was of Jewish descent. After some early experiences working in a cardboard factory and printing business cards, Walter Scharff established a playing card factory in 1923 and published a small but elegant range of German, Swiss and French-suited decks. There was a lot of competition in...
“Triton”, KG31, was published by Karl Gerich in 1989 trading as Victoria Playing Card Co with double-ended courts based on the XP17 or “Bongoût” pattern of Van Genechen and other Turnhout makers.
The Queens, who wear short sleeved dresses with bonnets adorned with chin straps and roses, hold a rose, a fan, a bird or a letter.
Based upon older ‘standard’ patterns, the Kings and Queens are three-quarter length figures whilst the Jacks are full-length with legs giving the impression that they are walking about!
The deck has Italian indices (A, R, D, F) and was probably produced for the Italian market. The four scenic Aces are double-ended and illustrate buildings relevant to the history of the Medici dynasty.
A series of fifty-five original designs (including frontispiece, back and Joker) for a Pickwick pack of playing cards, in which are introduced all the principal & many of the minor characters figuring in the great humorous classic.
The Russians were no strangers to propaganda cards. Clubs represent the Russian Orthodox church, Hearts Roman Catholicism, Spades Confucianism and Diamonds represent Judaism.
The Basler Fasnachts deck is designed each year by a different local artist.
The Aces are decorated with the pip in a central circle and two different figures at each end of the card. The courts are lavishly illustrated.