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Cheery Families, c.1893

Cheery Families by De La Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1890

Designed by Richard Doyle (1824-1883) and registered in 1893, the game was first issued with either dark green or pale green backs. This is De La Rue's contribution to the 'Happy Families' genre which had become popular following the publication of Jaques' Original Happy Families in c.1850. Richard Doyle also designed “Stop Thief” and “Spin & Old Maid” card games for De la Rue.

Cheery Families printed by De La Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1893

Above: eight cards from 'Cheery Families' card game printed by De La Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1893. 52 cards, 13 families of four cards each. The initials R.D. appear on Mr Grub the Gardener's flowerpot, which stand for Richard Doyle (1824-83), the humorous artist, cartoonist and illustrator.

Richard 'Dick Kitcat' Doyle (1824-1883) was uncle to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He was a gifted artist and began from an early age to illustrate juvenilia and books for family circulation. He went on to illustrate for Dickens, Thackeray, Ruskin and Punch magazine and became almost a household name. Doyle's cover design for Punch was used until 1954.

Cheery Families printed by De La Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1893

Above: the box.

Later Editions

In the late 1930s Gibson published a red and black version, renamed “Happy Families”, with blue pattern backs in 24 and 44 card editions. At some time near then Gibsons also published a 52 card edition for Marks and Spencer with the complete set of all the original characters (in the red and black colours) and a jazzy new back design. The same treatment was also applied to the De La Rue Snap cards contemporary with the Cheery Families.

Cheery Families economy edition printed by De La Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1930s

Above: 52 or 24-card version with rules, renamed “Happy Families”.

Cheery Families economy edition printed by De La Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1930s

Above: 52-card version.

Cheery Families economy edition printed by De La Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1930s

Above: Marks & Spencers edition, 52 cards in box.

Cheery Families economy edition printed by De La Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1930s

Above: an odd 44-card green version of Cheery Families economy edition printed by De La Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1930s. All above images and additional research courtesy Rex Pitts.

Last Updated February 05, 2019 at 01:06pm

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