The World of Playing Cards Logo
Published September 23, 2015 Updated July 23, 2022

J. W. Spear and Sons: ‘Zoology’

Quartet games with scientific illustrations became popular during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. J. W. Spear and Sons Zoology quartet game is a lesson in natural history.

1910 Germany United Kingdom Spears Games Education Nature & Environment Zoology Card Games Quartet Add to Collection

In the 19th century numerous professional and amateur artists were engaged illustrating zoological, botanical and other scientific subjects. Interesting specimens were obtained from overseas and people had a passion for natural history. Zoology quartet games became popular during the Victorian and Edwardian eras and many fine lithographed sets of animal images were published to engage children’s imagination.

J. W. Spear and Sons’ Zoology quartet game is a lesson in animal identification, with a total of 60 different species illustrated and classified under fifteen headings: Apes, Beasts of Prey, Beetles, Birds, Cats, Cattle, Deer, Dogs, Fish, Lizards, Pachyderms, Rodents, Ruminants, Serpents and Ungulates. As in most quartet games the idea is to collect sets of the same type, or ‘family’, but at the same time educational benefits are imparted through learning to recognise the different types of animal.

‘Zoology’ card game published by J. W. Spear and Sons, c.1910

Above: ‘Zoology’ card game published by J. W. Spear and Sons, London, c.1910. 60 cards, chromolithography, manufactured at the Spear Works Bavaria. Images courtesy Richard Strand.


German Zoology Game - maker unidentified

Zoological card game, anonymous late 19th century Zoological card game, anonymous late 19th century

Above: unidentified German pack featuring animals which may well be called ‘Zoology’, probably late 19th century.

avatar
773 Articles

By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.

His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.

Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.

Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.

His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.


Related Articles

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

A limited edition art print of the 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil King of Diamonds

Woodblock and Stencil King of Diamonds

A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.

1875 Lend Me Five Shillings

Lend Me Five Shillings

or “Her Majesty’s Privy Purse” - a merry round-the-table game published by D. Ogilvy.

1875 Laughing Made Easy

Laughing Made Easy

a Victorian card game published by D. Ogilvy.

2002 Classic Card Games for Kids

Classic Card Games for Kids

A boxed set of playing cards, Happy Families and an alphabet pack with rules for 22 games.

1984 Mit Rhino auftrumpfen

Mit Rhino auftrumpfen

Black rhinos on a publicity pack for Armstrong, a flooring company, with comic designs by Pit Flick....

1904 So-Lah – A Game of Music

So-Lah – A Game of Music

An early 20th century domino-type musical card game by Goodall.

2018 Marmite

Marmite

Fifty-Four images celebrating a UK savoury spread, that has been around one hundred and twenty two y...

1877 Word Making and Word Taking

Word Making and Word Taking

How crossword and spelling games became popular.

1997 Walt Disney Cards II

Walt Disney Cards II

Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and other familiar Disney characters.

2021 Film Noir

Film Noir

A deck of 55 cards, celebrating hard boiled heroes, wise-cracking women, mean streets, guns and gums...

2016 Science Fiction

Science Fiction

A deck of 55 cards, celebrating a time when Science Fiction truly was, Science Fiction.

2004 The Beatles playing cards

The Beatles playing cards

Two packs featuring photos of The Beatles issued by the same publisher in 2004 and 2005.

1991 Costume Playing Cards

Costume Playing Cards

Four centuries of costumes from the Costume Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

1985 Hilti I

Hilti I

Promotional pack for Hilti power tools, with courts in medieval costume and non-standard pips.

1990 Transair

Transair

Humorous designs promoting Transair, a German charter flight operator.

1989 Merz Pharma Skat

Merz Pharma Skat

Comic designs promoting Merz Pharma, a German drug company.

1978 escART, ec-ART, SKAT

escART, ec-ART, SKAT

Fully illustrated pack printed from etchings by Johannes Vennekamp.

2020 Commoners playing cards

Commoners playing cards

Created by Ian Cumpstey dedicated to the common land and the countryside.

2019 Liber Ludorum

Liber Ludorum

Liber Ludorum playing cards created by Ian Cumpstey in the insular style, United Kingdom, 2019.

1993 Hansaplast<sup>®</sup>

Hansaplast®

Advertising pack for Hansaplast, with comic courts sporting sticking plasters.

2018 Pike and Clover playing cards

Pike and Clover playing cards

Pike and Clover playing cards created by Ian Cumpstey, Cumbria, UK, 2018.

2023 Inglewood Hunting Deck

Inglewood Hunting Deck

Inglewood Hunting Deck created by Ian Cumpstey, United Kingdom, 2023.

2010 Pin-Ups

Pin-Ups

A deck of 55 cards celebrating a golden age of cheeky, naughty, bold and curvy ladies in film.

2008 Classic Movie Posters

Classic Movie Posters

A deck of 55 cards presenting vintage classic movies and their stars.

2014 That’s Entertainment

That’s Entertainment

A deck of 55 cards celebrating 20th Century vaudeville, musicals and cabaret.

1981 British Monarchs

British Monarchs

Commemorating the royal wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer on the 29th

2005 Rock & Pop Legends

Rock & Pop Legends

Stunning photos of a selection of US and UK music artists.

2004 The Beatles • Yellow Submarine

The Beatles • Yellow Submarine

A colourful deck celebrating the 1968 animated feature film based on the Lennon/McCartney song of th...

1999 Dutch Court playing cards

Dutch Court playing cards

Games & Print Services’ version of the Dutch pattern.

2013 Past Masters’ Association Presentation Pack

Past Masters’ Association Presentation Pack

The Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards Past Masters’ Association Presentation Pack, 2013....

The Search for New Games in the late 19<sup>th</sup> century

The Search for New Games in the late 19th century

A few new games survived and are still around today; most came and went and are only witnessed in th...

1904 Miniature Card Dominoes

Miniature Card Dominoes

A miniature set of Goodall domino cards (5.9 x 3.5 cms) still in perfect condition.

1978 Wedding of Krechinsky • Свадьба Кречинского

Wedding of Krechinsky • Свадьба Кречинского

A pack of cards depicting characters from the famous play "The Wedding of Krechinsky" by Sukhovo-Kob...

1875 T. Drayton & Son

T. Drayton & Son

Bezique and Whist boxed sets by T. Drayton & Son, London, c.1875.

2011 Colour doodle deck

Colour doodle deck

“1952-2002 commemorative deck” customised with doodles by an uncredited artist, UK, 2011.

2004 Freimaurer Spielkarten / Masonic playing cards

Freimaurer Spielkarten / Masonic playing cards

Masonic playing cards created by Ivan Wojnikow, 2004.

2003 Safety playing cards

Safety playing cards

Safety playing cards designed to reinforce the “Think and Be Safe” concept.

1978 Carte Osteologiche

Carte Osteologiche

Skulls and bones of all descriptions have become the suits and pips in this 40-card pack from Italy....

2020 Alice in Wonderland: we’re all mad here

Alice in Wonderland: we’re all mad here

Alice in Wonderland themed playing cards, UK, 2020.

1989 Orientierungslauf Skat

Orientierungslauf Skat

Humorous designs by Helmut Härtelt on the subject of orienteering.

1990 Borna Skat

Borna Skat

Publicity pack for the Saxon town of Borna, with designs by Andreas Wachter.