The World of Playing Cards Logo

Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. 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. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Sentinels Playing Cards by Jeffrey Bucholtz

A pack illustrated by Jeffrey Bucholtz inspired by ancient Egypt’s religious and philosophical system of Hermeticism.

Artist alliance of the magic industry Theory11 collaborated with Jeffrey Bucholtz lead illustrator for San Francisco based design agency Hatch. Hatch designs much of the branding for Coca-Cola, American Eagle, Pixar, and even JAQK Cellars!

Theory11 were looking to create a limited-edition deck of cards focused on Hellenistic Egypt’s religious and philosophical system of Hermeticism.

The royal court represents the three parts of wisdom – alchemy is represented by the jacks, astronomy by the queens, for example , and theurgy by the kings. The fundamental elements of alchemy: earth, fire, water, and air were applied to the suits.

Check out more of Jeffery's artwork on his portfolio website; and you can buy the pack from the Theory11 website.

avatar

By Adam Wintle

Member since March 15, 1997

View Articles

Adam has been involved in developing the site.

Recommended

Star Stack

Star Stack

Star Stack playing cards feature illustrations of famous astronomers and important astronomical constellations.

Dr Who

Dr Who

Dr Who is a long-running science-fiction television series produced by the BBC, first airing in 1963.

Quantum

Quantum

Quantum playing cards designed by Catherine Geaney.

Hodges’ Constellations

Hodges’ Constellations

Hodges’ pack dealing with astronomy had numeral cards carrying diagrams of constellations and their pictorial representations.

Sentinels Playing Cards by Jeffrey Bucholtz

Sentinels Playing Cards by Jeffrey Bucholtz

A pack illustrated by Jeffrey Bucholtz inspired by ancient Egypt’s religious and philosophical system of Hermeticism.

Charles Hodges

Charles Hodges

Charles Hodges produced engraved geographical and astronomical decks, London, c.1827-30.