The month of September in the Book of Hours of Charles V, produced in Paris around 1500, has a miniature painting showing the sinner gambling accompanied by two women. Playing cards can be seen arranged on the table, along with money and other items. One of the women is distracting him whilst the other cheats. This is a frequent theme in Northern European medieval art. The moral message is that not only is he losing his soul but also all his goods, leading to misery. A libra sign is shown at the top left-hand corner. The right-hand miniature depicts salvation through prayer.
Apart from the theological meaning, the illustration offers what was most probably a typical scene in taverns or public houses of that time.
“La primera conclusión es que todo el mundo jugaba a las cartas a pesar de que estaba prohibido jugar apostando”... more →
Member since February 01, 1996View Articles
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.
Revolutionary playing cards with decapitated courts published by ATYPYK, Paris, 2010.
Andalusian playing cards designed by Marifé Montoya Carrillo with booklet by Jorge Lirola Delgado, 2012.
Tiny 19th.century ‘Cartes Mignonnes’ playing cards depicting the fashions of the period
High-quality standard designs by Sebastián Comas y Ricart, Barcelona, Spain, 1896.
Wedding invitation and thank you card in the form of playing cards. France, 2019.
Advertising pack for Vivacidol pharmaceutical product, France, c.1960s.
Table tennis players in action published by La Ducale, an imprint of Grimaud, France, 1979.
Tarot game pack with fantasy sci-fi artwork on the trumps published by Pocket SF, France.
Issued to mark the opening of line 3 of the metro in Valencia, 1998.
Jeu de 54 cartes, completely anonymous, designed to resemble locally produced French packs.
An extraordinary Spanish pack of chocolate advertising playing cards dating from 1920
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.
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.
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.
Bull fighting card game publshed by Naipes Comas, 1969.
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
Fifth Centenary of the Discovery of America by Heraclio Fournier, 1992.
Donald Duck card game © Walt Disney Productions, by Naipes Fournier, 1984.
Jeu de Quaternes ‘Rizá’
A facsimile of an early 19th century French-suited deck from the collection of F.X. Schmid.
Le Jeu du Destin Antique, originally published by Grimaud in XIX c., republished many times since...
Eroticartes with drawings by Pino Zac, 1983.
Caperucita Roja card game published by H. Fournier, 1981.