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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.

Browsing keyword:

costume

50 Articles

Dutch costume playing cards

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

Dutch costume playing cards

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.

Müller: Richelieu

Schweizer Trachten

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

Schweizer Trachten

Newsletter: Costume & Fashion as Revealed in Playing Cards

In this newsletter we’re looking at how fashion and costume is represented through playing card art since the 14th century through to today.

Newsletter: Costume & Fashion as Revealed in Playing Cards

Andere Zeiten - Andere Kleider

‘History of fashion’ cultural quartet game designed by Erika Werner-Nestler, 1954.

Andere Zeiten - Andere Kleider

Netherlands Kostuum Kwartet

Dutch costumes quartet game designed by Gerard Huijg, 1983.

Netherlands Kostuum Kwartet

Österreichisches Trachten-quartett

Österreichisches Trachten-quartett Nr.282 published by Ferd Piatnik & Söhne.

Österreichisches Trachten-quartett

Chinese Costumes

Chinese Costumes from the Winterthur Collection, published by Fournier, 1984.

Chinese Costumes

Fancy Dress Ball

Spear’s “Fancy Dress Ball” card game with children dressed in period costumes, 1930s.

Fancy Dress Ball

Bathing Beauties

Bathing Beauties throughout the ages, published in Hungary, 1967.

Bathing Beauties

New Figures by A. I. Charlemagne, 1862

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

New Figures by A. I. Charlemagne, 1862

Casais Portugueses

Matching game by Majora, Lisbon, c.1970, featuring figures in national dress from Portuguese provinces and colonies

Casais Portugueses

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots and other Tudor period dignitaries, published by Piatnik, 1990.

Mary Queen of Scots

Bharata Playing Cards

Bharata Playing Cards - Series 2, based on Indian folk art, published by Sunish Chabba, 2018.

Bharata Playing Cards

Fashion Face Off

“Fashion Face Off” card game illustrated by Erin Petson for Laurence King Publishing, c.2011.

Fashion Face Off

Far East

Far East playing cards with designs by Isabel Ibáñez de Sendadiano, c.1980.

Far East

Provinces de France

Jeu des Provinces de France published by Éditions Dusserre, 1979.

Provinces de France

Europe

“Europe” designed by Teodoro N. Miciano and printed by Heraclio Fournier in 1962, portraying XIV century European fashions.

Europe

Dames de France

“Dames de France” published by J-M Simon based on originals by Armand Gustave Houbigant, Paris, c.1817

Dames de France

Comtesse

“Comtesse” by Bielefelder Spielkarten Fabrik GmbH, 1960s.

Comtesse

El Aguila

Naipes ‘El Aguila’ with flamboyantly dressed court figures made in Mexico by La Cubana S.A., c.1975.

El Aguila

Rococo Playing Cards

Piatnik’s Rococo style playing cards issued as “Rococo Patience”, “Luxus-Patience”, “Empire Patience”, “White Horse Patience”, “Patience-Whist No.140”, “Mini Patience” and “Lady Patience”

Rococo Playing Cards

Happy Families of the Nations

Happy Families of the Nations published by Pepys Games, 1958.

Happy Families of the Nations

Dr Who Adventures

‘Doctor Who Adventures’ is a weekly magazine aimed at younger readers. From time to time free playing cards are included with the magazine

Dr Who Adventures

Palekh by Aleksey Orleansky

In the style of religious icon paintings, these court card figures wear costumes reminiscent of the mid-17th century.

Palekh by Aleksey Orleansky

Roaring Twenties

Roaring Twenties playing cards by Angel Playing Cards Co Ltd, Japan. 1980.

Roaring Twenties

Russian Slavic Costumes

Russian style “Slavic Costumes” playing cards first published in 1911

Russian Slavic Costumes

Daveluy

Daveluy produced card games between c.1840 and 1890. Many of his playing cards have historical connotations and show figures with a landscape background.

Daveluy

Moyen-Age by Daveluy

Cartes Moyen-Age by Daveluy, Bruges, c.1875.

Moyen-Age by Daveluy

Decked Out

Connie Lim has created a beautifully illustrated set of fashion inspired playing cards, a tangible telling of her story, intimately realized in the palm of your hand.

Decked Out

Regional Costumes

Spanish regional costumes and coats-of-arms; cute illustrations on each card, 1986.

Regional Costumes

Marguerite

Each court figure is richly decorated and holding something different: a letter, a wreath, a quill pen, a mace, a bird, a flower, a cushion, a goblet, a flute, etc.

Marguerite

Matyó-Bridge No.50

The court cards in this delightful Art Deco pack represent persons in various colourfully embroidered folkloric costumes. Designed by Hungarian artist Ilona Radnainé Szöredi.

Matyó-Bridge No.50

Cartes Parisiennes

The courts are full-length figures of English historical personages.

Cartes Parisiennes

Orija Nr.20

Reprint of “Lettische Trachten” deck first published in Latvia in 1918.

Orija Nr.20

Swiss Regional Costumes Playing Cards, c.1890

This Swiss Regional Costume pack can be seen as an early form of tourist souvenir which subsequently developed into the photographic souvenir pack.

Swiss Regional Costumes Playing Cards, c.1890

Naipe Peruano

Peruvian costumes playing cards.

Naipe Peruano