What was considered the first mention of playing cards in England is in 1463 when Edward IV banned their importation, so they must have been popular by then.
A few examples of the many interesting back designs.
Worshipful Company Pack manufactured by Chas Goodall & Son, 1893.
This is a personal account of some of my experiences collecting playing cards.
Peter Wood’s “2000Pips” transformed playing cards (1999) reveals the artist’s love of nature
Dating is a particularly tricky but very interesting problem to tackle and there are many pitfalls
A selection of examples of Owen Jones's work printed by De La Rue.
On page 11 I illustrated several examples of the regional French patterns from Sylvia Mann's collection; this is a more in-depth look at the figures of these patterns ("portraits" in French).
This is an archive list of my collection. I hope it will be of use and interest to others.
Two similar but fascinatingly different hand-drawn transformation decks by the same artist, c.1875
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.
Aesop’s Fables playing cards by I. Kirk, c.1759.
“America” playing cards designed by Teodoro N Miciano, 1960
Naipes "ANGUS" designed by Gustavo A. Pueyrredón, depicting Aberdeen Angus livestock on the courts and jokers dressed as Gauchos.
Anonymous archaic Spanish Suited pack, c.1760
Apache rawhide playing cards by ‘Tonto Naipero’, c.1871
Naipes Argentinos 'La Partida' y 'Aparcero' published by Obsequios Empresarios Argentinos, Santa Fe
‘Aquae Sulis’ is Georgina Harvey's second design, in which the double-ended courts are reminiscent of classical gods & goddesses.
“Art for the Earth” Transformation Deck published by Andrew Jones Art for Friends of the Earth, c.1990.
English Standard pack hand drawn & coloured on banana leaf, c.1820.
Banco playing cards for Air France manufactured by Draeger Frères, c.1952
Non-standard Spanish-suited playing cards created by Rafael Rodriguez Hernandez and published by Ediciones Baja Andalucia, Sevilla, c.1980.
Baraja Carlos IV, Félix Solesio en la Real Fábrica de Macharaviaya, 1800
Baraja Cuauhtémoc published by Treviño Narro, Monterrey, Mexico Original artwork by P. X. Santaella featuring Aztec and other important pre-Columbian cultures.
“Baraja Hispanoamericana” published by Asescoin, with artwork by Ortuño, illustrates memorable people from the discovery, colonisation and subsequent liberation of Hispanic America
“Baraja Mitológica” was first published in Madrid in c.1815 by Josef Monjardín from engravings by José Martínez de Castro.
Baraja PEPLVM features cartoons by Ortuño of famous actors and actresses in roles from epic Roman movies
Baraja Taurina manufactured by Simeon Durá (Valencia) for Chocolate Angelical, first published in 1916.
After the Second World War, the deck continued to be produced both by the VEB Altenburger Spielkartenfabrik as “Rokoko” and by ASS-Spielkartenfabrik, Leinfelden-Echterdingen as “Baronesse”.
1st edition of famous Bicycle Playing Cards printed by Russell & Morgan Printing Co., Cincinnati, 1885.
Promotional deck for Honeywell Computers by Brown & Bigelow c.1968 with the cards marked in binary notation
Based upon older ‘standard’ patterns, the Kings and Queens are three-quarter length figures whilst the Jacks are full-length with legs giving the impression that they are walking about!
Bjørn Wiinblad (1918-2006) was a Danish painter, designer and ceramics artist
“Blue Playing Cards” by Piatnik, 1960s, inspired by the Cubism art movement in which objects are analysed and reassembled in abstracted form
Cádiz Pattern playing cards
“Carte per Signora” patience pack was produced by Fratelli Armanino, Genova, in c.1897
Playing cards are used for fortune-telling, predicting the future or even as a psychological adjunct to folk medicine and therapy.
Bernhard Altmann is from the “The House of Cashmere” and these playing cards honour their best known commodity: the fleece of the graceful horned Cashmere goat.
Promotional playing cards created by A. M. Cassandre (pseudonym of Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron, 1901-1968) with abstract, almost surrealist figures and ornamentation, but clearly inspired by medieval art and rendered into an Art Deco style.
Chad Valley Co. Ltd (incorporating Johnson Brothers (Harborne) Ltd) the long-established UK brand bought by Woolworths in 1988 and now sold at Argos.
Marseille Tarot cards by Charles Cheminade of Grenoble, France, early 18th century.
Today nothing remains of Charles Goodall's Camden Works, where three-quarters of the playing cards printed in Britain were produced.
Chérie No 7022 designed by Hans & Louise Neupert, nice vibrant artwork, swinging 60s
Deck featuring 54 different images of Chinese Dragon Robes that emperors, empresses and royal family members wear on important occasions
A very impressive deck of cards featuring 54 different images from “Chinese Roles of Beijing Opera” published by HCG Poker Productions, 2005
“Circus No.47”, first issued in 1896. The staid old Kings, Queens and Jacks have given way to various well-known ring masters, clowns and queens; dashing circus designs. Indeed, the clown Jacks are only a short step away from Jokers!
“Classic” playing cards designed by Paul Mathison inspired by classical mythology, 1959
Columbian Exposition Souvenir playing cards, G.W. Clark, Chicago, 1893.
Cosi Fan Tutte was published in 1994 and is based on Mozart's opera. The pips (heart-shaped locket, magnet, marriage contract and poison bottle) are key objects in the development of the operatic plot.
Stylish playing cards featuring the glamorous, superpowered female stars of the alternate reality world of DC Comics, published by 'Forbidden Planet', 2015
De La Rue introduced letter-press printing into playing card production and his patent was granted in 1831. He produced his first playing cards in 1832.
Deakin’s Political Playing Cards 3rd edition, c.1888
Delightful Cards, containing variety of entertainment for young Ladies and Gentlemen c.1723
Delta playing cards are a modern art concept deck invented by Professor M. R. Ali, an artist operating under the company name of “Artology International”.
“Baraja Histórica” (Descubridores y Colonizadores de America) manufactured by Heraclio Fournier S.A., 1952 designed by Ricardo Summers “Serny”
“Game of Doctor Busby“- anonymous manufacturer, c.1850.
Baraja IV Centenario Don Quijote is the work of artist Vicente Arnás, published by Asescoin, Madrid, 2004.
The luxury playing card factory founded in Frankfurt am Main by Bernhard Dondorf in 1833 existed for 100 years.
Éditions Philibert published an outstanding series of exotic, artistic playing cards in Paris from 1954 to 1960
The suit signs and indices are clear and easily recognisable, and each suit has a different predominant colour. The juxtaposition of traditional craft techniques with abstract modern design could be seen as postmodern.