The playing card calls for artistic treatment and although the constrained size imposes some limitations there is an almost bewildering wealth and variety of designs in playing cards and their tuck boxes. The serious player requires design to be unobtrusive so that aesthetic considerations remain in the background. However, with modern manufacturing technology more eye-catching designs are becoming popular as gifts, collectibles and for their attractive appearance.
‘El Cid’ fantasy playing cards designed by E. Pastor, Valencia, Spain, c.1875
The centuries-long tradition of English court cards was subject to misinterpretation and in some cases a desire for individuality. Here are some examples of breaks with that tradition.
‘Jeu de Cartes 1900’ designed by Marie Christine Schira in the Art Nouveau or Jugendstil style, 1979.
“26th Yankee Division Playing Cards” was designed by Alban B. Butler, Jr and printed by the Press of the Woolly Whale, New York, in 1933.
28: How to Analyze and Differentiate Playing Card Plates (De La Rue, Waddington and the Berlin pattern [französisches Bild])
My interest in postage stamp variants led me to apply the same principles to playing cards.
The emphasis throughout my collecting has been on the design of the courts cards, and it should be pointed out that there have been some functional changes to cards, which have affected the traditional designs, especially in the 19th century.
The issue of design copies needs further consideration and when does a copy become a fake?
A brief survey of some of the current variation in the standard English pattern.
A selection of examples of Owen Jones's work printed by De La Rue.
My wife and I have recently commissioned a unique pair of stained glass windows for our home.
Shelley Fowles was born in South Africa but has lived in the United Kingdom since 1979. She trained in Art in Brighton and London.