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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:

woodblock

13 Articles

“Deck with French suits”

A facsimile of an early 19th century French-suited deck from the collection of F.X. Schmid.

“Deck with French suits”

Jeu “Gerente”

Jeu “Gerente” - published by Moncar in 1983 in the “Cartes de Fantasie” series.

Jeu “Gerente”

71: Woodblock and stencil: the hearts

A presentation of the main characteristics of the wood-block courts of the heart suit.

71: Woodblock and stencil: the hearts

70: Woodblock and stencil : the spade courts

This is a presentation in a more straightforward fashion of the work done by Paul Bostock and me in our book of the same name.

70: Woodblock and stencil : the spade courts

Xilografías de Mallorca

Spanish National pattern re-printed from original woodblocks which are preserved in the monastery at Valdemosa, Mallorca, c.1960.

Xilografías de Mallorca

Reynolds c.1830

Woodblock and stencil playing cards, produced by Reynolds & Sons c.1830-1850.

Reynolds c.1830

Early Anglo-French Cards

Cards produced in Rouen during the sixteenth century. It was cards like these which were imported to England and are the ancestors of the modern 'Anglo-American' pattern.

Early Anglo-French Cards

Russian Standard Playing Cards

Cards from a Russian standard woodblock and stencil pack of circa 1820.

Russian Standard Playing Cards

Regarding the designs of playing cards

The quality of playing card designs often deteriorates with time…

Regarding the designs of playing cards