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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:

historical

15 Articles

Lakeland

Lakeland playing cards by Stuart Lawrence depicting famous characters & views of England’s Lake District, c.1988.

Lakeland

Historical Characters

“Historical Characters” playing cards printed by Waddington’s for Thermawear Ltd, 1994

Historical Characters

Famo

Famo, the historical card game, 1939.

Famo

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

Rowley & Co - “Monarchs of Europe”

In around 1775 Rowley & Co attempted to reform the traditional court cards to portraits of the kings and queens of England, France, Spain and Russia.

Rowley & Co - “Monarchs of Europe”

Cartes Parisiennes

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

Cartes Parisiennes

French Costumes

The French taste for elegant, well engraved costume playing cards started during the early 19th century. O. Gibert of Paris produced a series of such fashion packs, or packs depicting historical characters.

French Costumes

Dresdner Doppelkopf

‘Dresdner Doppelkopf’ with scenes of Dresden, designed by Günter Schmitz, 1989.

Dresdner Doppelkopf

Spanish Historical Characters playing cards, c.1896

Cards from the Spanish Historical Characters playing cards set printed by Litografía Madriguera (Barcelona), c.1896, which were inserted into packets of chocolate.

Spanish Historical Characters playing cards, c.1896