Pierre Marechal, Rouen, c.1567
After the development of the printing industry at the end of the 15th century, Rouen became an important centre for card-making whose influence extended far afield. The cards of Rouen are significant because many were produced for export to Britain and they became the model from which our English pack subsequently evolved.
An archaic pack of cards made by Pierre Marechal c.1567 preserved in the archives at Rouen represents the model from which our English pack subsequently evolved. When England banned the importation of cards in 1628, English printers used Rouen court cards as inspiration for their own packs. The style of the costumes on English playing cards is late medieval, being descended from the Rouen models.
The cards made in Rouen at that time were an eclectic mixture of features from cards made for various foreign markets, hence the origins of what became the "English" pattern are not one precise source, but a mixture of several earlier regional patterns.
Member since February 01, 1996
Founder 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.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.
A political pack designed by Pino Zac and published in 1977 by Editions Arts et Lettres.
Geometric designs by the French artist Jean Garçon for Knoll International, the furniture company.
Standard French cards but printed with fluorescent inks on a black background.
Fine reproduction of a Fribourg pattern pack, originally by Jean-Jacques Burdel.
Free reinterpretation of the traditional Paris pattern courts by the artist Claude Weisbuch.
Facsimile of ‘FDR New Deal Deck’ of 1934 re-published by Bill Schroeder, USA, 2010.
Publicity pack for the Campanile hotel and restaurant chain featuring French provincial costumes, wi...
Facsimile of Winstanley’s Geographical cards produced by Harold & Virginia Wayland, 1967.
“Les métiers et leurs protecteurs” playing cards published by Editions Dusserre, c. 1995.
Famous people associated with Nicolas Fouquet’s splendid château of Vaux-le-Vicomte.
French navigators and explorers on a promotional pack for the C.M.C.R shipping company.
Characters from the 2007 film Shrek the Third, a DreamWorks Animation production.
Advertising pack designed by James Hodges for a company specialising in regional cakes and biscuits....
Joan of Arc and her contemporaries in a colourful pack designed by Patrice Louis.
Typical costumes and views of Alsace together with lists of the principal sights.
Egg-shaped cards created by Rodolfo Krasno employing photographic images by Michel Leclerc.
French Cartomancy cards published by J. Gaudais; printed by Mansion, Paris, c.1830.
Eclipse Comic playing cards is a reproduction of the first transformation pack printed in the USA in...
Costumes from four operas premiered at the Paris Opera between 1830 and 1840.
Honouring the bicentenary of the Montgolfier brothers’ first balloon flights in 1783.
A colourful pack aimed at children, with illustrations by Muriel Kerba.
Review of “Trzes’ Moorish Deck” facsimile published by Ulrich Kaltenborn, Berlin, 2023.
Publicity pack for Gibert Jeune, the famous Parisian bookshop, with designs by James Hodges.
Costumes des Peuples Étrangers & Jeu d’Or dedicated to young people and likely used for games and fo...
“Le Nouvel Etteilla” cartomancy deck published in Paris by La Veuve Gueffier, 1806.
Révolution 1789-1989, celebrating the bicentenary of the French revolution, France, 1989