Flemish Hunting Deck, c.1475-80
South Netherlandish (Burgundian Territories). Pasteboard with pen and ink, tempera, applied gold and silver.
Fifteenth century playing cards display little conformity amongst themselves in terms of the number of cards, their shape, suit symbols or court card hierarchy. This unique set of medieval playing cards has 52 cards with King, Queen, Knave and numeral cards from one to ten in each of the four suits of dog collars, tethers (for the hounds), gaming nooses (for birds or small game), and hunting horns. The collars and horns are red and the tethers and nooses are blue. These suits refer to the pursuit of hunting, as practised by the nobility.
The cards are made from four sheets of paper glued together to form a stiff pasteboard. The oval outline of each card was traced onto the card and the unpainted cards were then cut out. The border around each card was then scored so that the blue and red lines could be painted in afterwards. Stencils were probably used to ensure the uniformity of the suit symbols, whilst the court cards were produced entirely freehand. Representation of court figures was not yet bound by any convention, so these figures uniformly stand in three-quarter profile with one foot leading forwards, holding objects in their hand. The artist's style suggests an origin in the Burgundian Lowlands (former French province and modern-day French région). The backs of the cards are plain paper, unpainted.
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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.
Hunters, animals and birds feature on all but the Kings in this pack by Theodor Wegener, c.1863-70.
Tarot game pack with fantasy sci-fi artwork on the trumps published by Pocket SF, France.
Jeu de 54 cartes, completely anonymous, designed to resemble locally produced French packs.
Another pack of Dutch costume playing cards c.1880.
Luxurious Spanish-suited pack made by Alphonse Arnoult, Paris, France, c.1850.
Original designs from the French overseas department of Martinique by local artist Martine Porry.
Standard French designs adapted for children. Made by France Cartes for La Grande Récré, c.2016.
A recreated of the original 1876, No. 18, Triplicate deck by A. Dougherty by Michael Scott in 2014.
Pack promoting Beaujolais wine published by Editions du Nuton, France.
Complete re-design of traditional pack into what the publishers considered to be ergonomically efficient.
Dutch costume playing cards made for the Dutch market in the second half of the 19th century.
“Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne” cover historical events, both honourable and treacherous, during the period 1702 to 1704.
In standard English packs the Ace of Spades is associated with decorative designs. This is a historical survey of why this should be.
Dubois card makers from Liège in the Walloon Region of Belgium.
PLAYING CARDS: A Secret History
This deck was inherited from ancestors, it has has a family history surrounding it. Details of the lives of previous owners make it all so fascinating.
My late mother found these miniature cards in a skip around 50 years ago.
Video by Art of Impossible. In this video you will get a short overview of the most important historical facts about playing cards and their history.
Dutch costumes quartet game designed by Gerard Huijg, 1983.
Nederlands Stedenkwartet with heraldic needlepoint patterns by Permin, c.1970.
La Sibylle des Salons facsimile of 19th century deck published by J M Simon, 1979.
Archaic Spanish-suited deck with 48 cards made in Toledo in 1584.
Eurotrotter by La Ducale, c.1980s.
‘Tout Est Bien Qui Finit Bien’ family card game by Dondorf.
Facsimile of Swiss William Tell deck from c.1870 published by Lo Scarabeo.
Zwarte Piet by Dondorf for the Dutch market, 1906.
Puss in Boots card game manufactured by H. Fournier, 1981.
Bass & Bass ‘Jeu des Familles’ made by Franz-Josef Holler, Münich, 1989.
Gambling and Vice in the Hours of Charles V: card-playing in the local tavern
Jeu de Quaternes ‘Rizá’
A facsimile of an early 19th century French-suited deck from the collection of F.X. Schmid.
Zwanenberg’s Kwartetspel printed by Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland, 1938.
“H-O Kwartetspel” children’s card game promoting quick cooking oatmeal (instant porridge), 1930s.
Le Jeu du Destin Antique, originally published by Grimaud in XIX c., republished many times since...
Eroticartes with drawings by Pino Zac, 1983.
Sleeping Beauty card game published in France, c.1980s.
Asperge Kwartet published by Knorr.
Benedicte Morand-Bail’s striking and colourful abstract poker deck with French named courts
Bretagne (Brittany) playing cards, Grimaud, c.1970.
Railway Stations quartet game illustrated by Wim Dolk and published by Servex BV, Utrecht, 1975.