We are deeply saddened by news of the passing of Rex Pitts (1940-2021). Rex contributed over 500 articles to WoPC over the years and his knowledge of English card game manufacturers was second-to-none. His warm-heartedness, generosity and sense of humour will be profoundly missed.
A few years ago Rex provided his own brief autobiography:
“My parents were great amateur operatic enthusiasts and they were members of a couple of Operatic Societies in the 1930’s. This was in an age when people made their own entertainment and as a consequence of my Father’s enthusiasm all his three sisters joined him in the choruses for the performances these Operatic Societies put on. It was because of Gilbert and Sullivan that my Father and Mother met. They were both very good singers and played the principles in most of the Society’s performances. The picture is of them as Mabel and Frederick in a performance of “The Pirates of Penzance” in 1933 in Willesden northwest London.
“After they got married I came along and we lived in a household full of music. My Father was a brilliant pianist with a great fondness for Chopin and Granados and he played almost every day. Very often my Mother and Father would sing together in the evening, usually a Gilbert and Sullivan song. Sometimes, when relatives visited, they brought with them their musical instruments or just their voices for an evening of musical fun. My Father tried to teach me to play the piano but to my everlasting regret I stopped practising and never learned.
“I have retained a lifelong love of Gilbert and Sullivan which is why, a few years ago, I made a series of drawings based on the engravings that illustrated W S Gilbert’s “Bab Ballads” books. I made them on cards which I had an idea would make an interesting little pack for a bit of fun. They were just black and white at the time and I put them away and forgot about them. I did notice that there were 13 surviving Operettas by G & S and 4 sketches for each one made a total of 52 cards and played with the idea of making them into a suited pack of cards. Unfortunately I had not left enough space for a suit sign on many of the cards so I gave up on that one. What I had was a pack for a game of Quartet, played like Happy Families.”
Rex's innumerable articles and contributions can be found all over this site.
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 Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.
A miniature set of Goodall domino cards (5.9 x 3.5 cms) still in perfect condition.
“1952-2002 commemorative deck” customised with doodles by an uncredited artist, UK, 2011.
“Playing Politics ’10: With no expenses spared” featuring caricatures by Oliver Preston, published b...
Playing Politics ’92: Pack of lies with caricatures by Grant Robertson, UK.
Facsimile of Winstanley’s Geographical cards produced by Harold & Virginia Wayland, 1967.
Great inventions playing cards designed by Gary Wyatt, United Kingdom, 2011.
Festive courts on a Waddingtons pack designed to celebrate Christmas 1980.
‘Gone to Pot’: special playing cards for keen gardeners, United Kingdom.
Roy Huteson Stewart's The Tarot Strikes Back combines Star Wars with Rider-Waite tarot imagery.
“Don’t come back” playing cards produced by Hounslow NHS Primary Care Trust and Feltham Young Offend...
Randy Butterfield's House of Tudor playing cards feature detailed art in a high-quality collectible ...
Katie Abey’s rainbow-coloured designs using crazy animals to convey motivating phrases.
On-line offsite data backup publicity playing cards produced by The Bunker, United Kingdom, c. 2004....
54 different dinosaurs, both large and small, illustrated by Cecilia Fitzsimons.
Commemorative Olympic Playing Cards produced by Waddingtons exclusively for Stanley Gibbons Antiquar...
Clamcleats playing cards for sailors designed by Celia Allison, New Zealand, 1986.
“Around the world in 54 cards” hand-coloured transformation pack produced by Peter Wood, United King...
Jessel’s Bibliography of works in English on Playing Cards and Gaming describes “The first book on P...
Characters from The Broons and Oor Wullie comic strips on their 75th anniversary.
A catalogue in 54 cards of some of the treasures held within the Museum of London collections.
The first company to register Bezique materials with Stationers’ Hall was Josh Reynolds & Son in Sep...