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Transformation Playing Cards

Transformation of Playing Cards

The best-known fantasies with playing cards are the ‘Transformation’ cards. Hand-drawing ‘transformations’ onto a pack of ordinary playing cards, with the suit symbols forming part of the overall composition, became a popular pastime 200 years ago and a test of skill in drawing. A great deal of ingenuity is required in their design. The earliest printed sets were published at the start of the 19th century, often published in the form of an almanac or sometimes known as ‘metastasis’, and these became a fashionable and entertaining novelty.

In the strict sense of the word ‘Transformation’ the pips should be in their standard positions and form part of, or fit into, the overll image portrayed on the card.

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2000 Pips Transformation 1999

2000 Pips Transformation

Peter Wood’s “2000Pips” transformed playing cards reveal the artist’s love of nature.

2000Pips Transformation Pack

2000Pips Transformation Pack

2000Pips Transformation Pack

52 Transformierte Spielkarten 1989

52 Transformierte Spielkarten

Modern transformation pack including some saucy images created by Siegfried Heilmeier.

5th Kingdom playing cards 2020

5th Kingdom playing cards

5th Kingdom Luxury playing cards designed by Maria Fedoseeva, USA, 2020.

A Bouquet of Pheasants 2019

A Bouquet of Pheasants

A Bouquet of Pheasants playing cards produced by Jennifer Gaudion, United Kingdom, 2019.

A Motley Pack 1875

A Motley Pack

A book titled “On The Cards” or “A Motley Pack” by Garnet Walch (1843-1913) was published in Melbourne (Australia) and illustrated by George Gordon McCrae in 1875.

A Pair of Transformation Packs 1875

A Pair of Transformation Packs

Two similar but fascinatingly different hand-drawn transformation decks by the same artist, c.1875

Adolfo Matarelli Transformation 1860

Adolfo Matarelli Transformation

Matarelli was a well known caricaturist who first illustrated Carlo Collodi's famous Pinocchio story. He was also a collaborator in the satirical magazine “Il Lampione”, founded by Collodi.

Around the world in 54 cards 2008

Around the world in 54 cards

“Around the world in 54 cards” hand-coloured transformation pack produced by Peter Wood, United Kingdom, 2008.

Art for the Earth 1992

Art for the Earth

“Art for the Earth” Transformation Deck published by Andrew Jones Art for Friends of the Earth, 1992.

Baron Louis Atthalin’s Transformation Playing Cards, 1817 1817

Baron Louis Atthalin’s Transformation Playing Cards, 1817

Baron Louis Atthalin (1784-1856) designed these cards whilst on a sea crossing from Palermo to Marseilles in 1814.

Bartlett Ackermann Transformation 1833

Bartlett Ackermann Transformation

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

Bosch Puzzle Playing Cards 2020

Bosch Puzzle Playing Cards

Bosch Puzzle Playing Cards by Sunish Chabba, 2020.

Carl Arnold Transformation

Carl Arnold Transformation

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

Cartes à Rire

Cartes à Rire

Transformed playing cards featuring satirical caricatures of political figures then in the ascendant, Paris, c.1819.

Cartes Comiques du Colonel Atthalin 1817

Cartes Comiques du Colonel Atthalin

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

Cartes Recréatives 1819

Cartes Recréatives

Cartes Recréatives is a set of Transformed playing cards designed by Armand-Gustave Houbigant (1790-1863) and first published by Terquem et May, Metz, in 1819.

Charles Hodges 1828

Charles Hodges

Charles Hodges produced engraved geographical and astronomical decks, London, c.1827-30.

Colour doodle deck 2011

Colour doodle deck

“1952-2002 commemorative deck” customised with doodles by an uncredited artist, UK, 2011.

Commedia dell’Carte 1977

Commedia dell’Carte

Commedia dell’Carte political transformation cards illustrated by Stef van Stiphout, Belgium, 1977.