Picture Proverbs

Picture Proverbs (c.1890)

J. Simmons & Co., Ltd., 68 Upper Thames Street, London E.C.

Above: the front and back of the box (click to zoom).

Above: the pack has 56 cards, the backs of the cards are pale yellow. The game is for 5 or more players and consists of 28 pairs of cards illustrating popular Victorian proverbs which were seen as words of wisdom or had a moralising innuendo. Play involves asking other players for a card and laying down completed proverbs; the game is won by the player who has completed the most proverbs. In the event of a player not knowing the words to complete the proverb, he may ask for the number.

Many of these proverbial sayings are still used in many households on a regular basis and others are relics of a time and era which has taken its place in the past. On the box (shown left) the designs are described as "amusing, humorous & artistic". Some of the illustrations show the social inequalities with prosperity for some and poverty and misery for others. It was a time of great inventiveness but also a time of great upheaval. Advice and quotes were always at hand, whether one belonged in the upper or lower classes.

Although the box says designed and made in England the number 9 set shows what is, without doubt, a German smoking his pipe. Is it possible they are telling untruths or could the German artist be living in the UK?

Last Updated December 17, 2021 at 11:38am


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