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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.

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artist

39 Articles

The Bristol Pack

The Bristol Pack, an exhibition of playing cards designed by Bristol artists, 2005.

The Bristol Pack

National Gallery (Dutch School)

National Gallery (Dutch School) published by J. Jaques & Son, c.1895.

National Gallery (Dutch School)

The Deck of Cards

The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art, 1979.

The Deck of Cards

Cosmopolitan № 2121 playing cards

“Cosmopolitan” № 2121 playing cards designed by Russian artist Valeri Mishin, 1996

Cosmopolitan № 2121 playing cards

Little Demons

“Little Demons” playing cards illustrated by Wayne Anderson, c.1970

Little Demons

Car Game

The Car Game with artwork by Barry Rowe, published by Pepys, c.1960.

Car Game

Naipe Criollo Caraí Pujol

‘Naipe Criollo Caraí Pujol’ with Gaucho designs by Julio F. Parada Seifert capturing the spirit of Argentine country life, 2005.

Naipe Criollo Caraí Pujol

Dogs

‘Dogs’ playing cards showcases 52 canine portraits in four suits as authors, artists, musicians and film stars, illustrated by Chet Phillips, 2016

Dogs

Teddy Bear Pack

The Teddy Bear pack of playing cards created by Peter Wood, 1994

Teddy Bear Pack

Cartes Comiques du Colonel Atthalin

“Jeu de cartes comiques” transformation cards designed by Louis Atthalin (1784-1856) and published in 1817.

Cartes Comiques du Colonel Atthalin

Prime Arts

Prime Arts Playing Cards were published in 2004 featuring the work of contemporary artists, illustrators and photographers.

Prime Arts

Thomas Walters Transformation

Hand-drawn transformation pack dated 1874 with the name Thomas Walters on the ace of spades.

Thomas Walters Transformation

Olivia’s Lucky Ladies

“Olivia’s Lucky Ladies” glamour model playing cards produced by Ozone Productions Ltd, USA, 2004

Olivia’s Lucky Ladies

Carl Arnold Transformation

Transformation playing cards designed by Carl Johann Arnold (1829-1916), the court artist for King Friedrich Wilhem IV of Prussia

Carl Arnold Transformation

Bartlett Ackermann Transformation

Pictorial playing cards published by C. Bartlett, New York, 1833.

Bartlett Ackermann Transformation

Krienser Fasnachts-Jass 1988

The Krienser Fasnachts-Jass deck was designed and published by Léon Schnyder from Kriens for the 1988 Fasnacht Carnival

Krienser Fasnachts-Jass 1988

Chamborama

This “Jeu de Familles” from the 1960s designed by Jean Bachès promotes Chambord glassware.

Chamborama

Cotta Transformation playing cards

In 1804, J.C. Cotta, a publisher and bookseller in Tübingen, Germany, produced the first set of transformation cards that was published as an actual deck of playing cards.

Cotta Transformation playing cards

Der Feinen Welt

Lattmann's 'Die Spielkarte Der Feinen Welt' published in 1923.

Der Feinen Welt

Salvador Dalí

Based on the standard French ‘Paris’ pattern, Dalí composed his playing card figures out of geometric shapes, like a surrealist tapestry, but retaining the traditional aspects of playing card design.

Salvador Dalí

Cancan

Lightly risqué luxury playing cards published by Éditions Philibert of Paris in 1956.

Cancan

Patience Indien

Karl Gerich's “Patience Indien No.16”, published in 1991, is adapted from Grimaud's “Whist Indienne” (c.1900). The double-ended courts are dressed in Arab garb.

Patience Indien

Latvia Art

Playing cards designed by artist Larisa Kovalass-Kovalevska on the theme of the Latvian folk epic “Lāčplēsis”.

Latvia Art

The 52 Club

The London College of Printing '52 Club' Designers and Artists playing cards, 1984.

The 52 Club

The Big Deal

In ‘Patia Te Pere - The Big Deal’, Joan Gragg presents a first edition series of 1000 decks in which the characters, themes and patterns from traditional playing cards are replaced by Cook Islands cultural, environmental and societal icons.

The Big Deal

Cartes Questions-Devinettes

A “Questions & Answers” family game from France produced by Imagerie Pellerin.

Cartes Questions-Devinettes

Gaucho Playing Cards

Florencio de los Ángeles Molina Campos (1891-1959) produced the artwork for his series of Gaucho playing cards from 1944 to 1958.

Gaucho Playing Cards

Art:Pack in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation

A deck of cards to raise awareness of the Irish Hospice Foundation.

Art:Pack in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation

About Peter Wood

PETER WOOD is a UK based artist.

About Peter Wood

Gallery of Playing Card Designers & Artists

Gallery of Playing Card Artists and Designers

Gallery of Playing Card Designers & Artists

Barribal Series

William H. Barribal (1873 - 1956) was a London artist who created the Waddingtons 'Barribal' playing cards series, which are avidly collected today.

Barribal Series

4 Seasons Playing Cards

4 Seasons Playing Cards.

4 Seasons Playing Cards

The Deal Playing-card Project

A deck of cards produced as a creative collaboration and made possible largely through volunteers and sponsorship of various kinds.

The Deal Playing-card Project