The World of Playing Cards Logo

The Game of Four Queens

In 1988 the Danish School of Design set the examination project to design a pack of playing cards. Thomas Damkier designed this royalty deck, called “Dronningespillet” (Game of Queens).

The Game of Four Queens designed and created by Thomas Damkier, 1988

In 1988 the Danish School of Design set the examination project to design a pack of playing cards. All students passed the examination. Thomas Damkier was the designer of this royalty deck, which he called “Dronningespillet” (Game of Queens) since his concept was based upon the - at that time - four reigning queens: (in alphabetical order by kingdom) Margerethe II of Denmark, Elizabeth II of Great Britain, Beatrix of the Netherlands and Ntambi of Swaziland.

One of Thomas Damkier's ideas was to create a closer relation between the design of the courts and the number cards. The geometrical forms used for the number card designs are derived from the suit marks and the same forms are repeated in the appropriate court card designs. The Queens are framed in cropped versions of the suitmarks, the Kings and Princes again are framed by derived variations of the same forms. The number cards are divided into high and low values. Spades and Hearts are smaller than Clubs and Diamonds. The four lions on the Jokers are lions that - except for the African lion - can be found in the respective countries' heraldry.

Instead of using the elaborate laminated boards that the other students used for their presentations, Thomas Damkier, who was disabled, succeeded in presenting his work as a proper card deck.

Thomas Damkier died of sclerosis a few years later.


REFERENCES

Jensen, K. Frank: Royalty on Danish Playing Cards, The Playing-Card vol.32 no.1, IPCS, July-Aug 2003.

Images and notes courtesy K. Frank Jensen, who was one of the external examiners of the project and whose article describing the cards forms the basis of this page.

avatar

By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

View Articles

Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


Leave a Reply

Recommended

1977 Algarve playing cards

Algarve playing cards

Kings and Queens of Portugal between 1185 - 1279. by V. de J.J. Nunes , Lisbon, Portugal, 1977.

1994 Dronning Margrethe II

Dronning Margrethe II

Elegant, elongated cards designed by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

2000 San Playing Cards

San Playing Cards

Rock paintings and engravings of the San people, better known as the “Bushmen”.

1880 Dutch costume playing cards from an unknown maker

Dutch costume playing cards from an unknown maker

Another pack of Dutch costume playing cards c.1880.

1860 Dutch costume playing cards

Dutch costume playing cards

Dutch costume playing cards made for the Dutch market in the second half of the 19th century.

1705 Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne

Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne

“Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne” cover historical events, both honourable and treacherous, during the period 1702 to 1704.

1935 Müller: Richelieu

Müller: Richelieu

This deck is named after Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu (1585-1642), a French Roman Catholic Clergyman and statesman, Chief Adviser to King Louis XIII, noted for the authoritarian measures he employed to maintain power.

1906 Schweizer Trachten

Schweizer Trachten

Schweizer Trachten No.174 (Costumes Suisses) by Dondorf.

1870 Transformation Cards for Christmas

Transformation Cards for Christmas

Hand-drawn Transformation cards, c.1870.

1970 Nederlands Stedenkwartet

Nederlands Stedenkwartet

Nederlands Stedenkwartet with heraldic needlepoint patterns by Permin, c.1970.

2003 Alice

Alice

Alice with artwork by Jesús Blasco, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.

2003 Liberty

Liberty

Liberty playing cards designed by Antonella Castelli, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.

1990 Baracca & Burattini

Baracca & Burattini

Baracca & Burattini puppetry deck printed by Dal Negro, 1998.

1989 Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes deck with caricatures by Jeff Decker published by Gemaco Playing Card Co. 1989

2005 Martin Mystère

Martin Mystère

Martin Mystère based on the comic book by Alfredo Castelli. The cards were designed by Giancarlo Alessandrini.

1988 Seefahrers II

Seefahrers II

‘Seefahrers’ maritime deck designed by Klaus Ensikat for Deutsche Seereederei Rostock, GDR.

1980 Sanyo Ukiyo-E

Sanyo Ukiyo-E

Ukiyo-E deck for Sanyo Enterprise Co.

1934 Dynastie Royale de Belgique

Dynastie Royale de Belgique

Dynastie Royale de Belgique by Mesmaekers, 1934.

1979 Year of the Child

Year of the Child

Year of the Child commemorative deck designed by Jhan Paulussen, 1979.

1976 Maya Deck

Maya Deck

The Maya Deck produced by Stancraft for Hoyle, 1976.

1986 Einhorn

Einhorn

‘Einhorn’ designed by Richard König, c.1986.

1896 A Royal Game

A Royal Game

A Royal Game featuring Queen Victoria’s children and extended family, published by A. Collier, London, c.1896.

2015 Bicycle Steampunk

Bicycle Steampunk

Bicycle Steampunk playing cards with Gothic artwork by Anne Stokes, 2015.

1862 New Figures by A. I. Charlemagne, 1862

New Figures by A. I. Charlemagne, 1862

“Renaissance” playing card designs by A I Charlemagne, 1862.

2018 Bicycle Knights

Bicycle Knights

Bicycle Knights playing cards designed by Sam Hayles in 2018.

1953 Crown the Queen

Crown the Queen

Crown the Queen card game invented by Elaine Burton, c.1953.

2017 Friendly Felines

Friendly Felines

‘Friendly Felines’ playing cards designed by Azured Ox, 2017.

2018 Gods of Egypt

Gods of Egypt

Gods of Egypt playing cards dedicated to the culture of Ancient Egypt.

2017 Bicycle 808 Bourbon

Bicycle 808 Bourbon

Bicycle 808 Bourbon themed deck by US Playing Card Company 2017.

2018 Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland playing cards designed by Sasha Dounaevski, 2018.

Kaiserkarte

Kaiserkarte

“Kaiserkarte” first published by Schneider & Co in 1895-1897 for the Imperial Court.

2017 Age of Dragons

Age of Dragons

Age of Dragons by Anne Stokes, 2017.

2010 Anne Stokes Collection

Anne Stokes Collection

Anne Stokes Collection playing cards, 2010.

1979 The Deck of Cards

The Deck of Cards

The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art, 1979.

68: Playing cards in glass

68: Playing cards in glass

My wife and I have recently commissioned a unique pair of stained glass windows for our home.

Chinese Jokers

Chinese Jokers

Chinese playing card makers have probably produced the widest variety of jokers of any single part of the world.

Kings & Queens of England Misfitz

Kings & Queens of England Misfitz

Kings & Queens of England Misfitz, c.1918.

2018 Ken McCarthy

Ken McCarthy

An unknown deck by Ken McCarthy, c.2018.

1980 Les Grandes Figures de L’Histoire Bretonne

Les Grandes Figures de L’Histoire Bretonne

Les Grandes Figures de L’Histoire Bretonne

2018 Kalevala

Kalevala

Kalevala playing cards by Sunish Chabba and Ishan Trivedi inspired by ancient Finnish mythology.