Transformation playing cards designed by Adolfo Matarelli (1832-1877) and originally published by Lit. G. Payer, Florence, c.1860 with the title “Album”. Matarelli was a well known caricaturist who first illustrated Carlo Collodi's famous Pinocchio story. He was also a collaborator in the satirical magazine Il Lampione, founded by Collodi. The images in the intricately designed transformed playing cards are supposed to be street scenes, but are often allegorical or symbolic, suggesting a moral or political innuendo and resulting in a visually pleasing and intriguing transformation deck.
The Court Cards
The 12 court figures are all standing in front of a background scene which enhances the sense of drama.
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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.
Carte da Gioco Toscana souvenir deck, 2002.
Set of caricatures and cartoons in aid of a Polish children’s charity. c.2000.
Stylish monochrome designs by the Archinstudio of Guido Bolzani and Gian-Piero Spagnolo, printed by Masenghini, Bergamo, Italy, 1977.
Gó Succo fruit juice promotion deck featuring Walt Disney cartoons.
San Marino stamp designs combined with photographic views by La Fotometalgrafica Emiliana, c.1975.
‘Aphorisms on the Kiss’ published by C. A. Solbrig, Leipzig, 1808.
Myriorama of Italian scenery, 1824.
Hand-drawn Transformation cards, c.1870.
Bosch Puzzle Playing Cards by Sunish Chabba, 2020.
Portraits of a Lady by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
Alice with artwork by Jesús Blasco, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
Liberty playing cards designed by Antonella Castelli, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
Il Circo illustrated by Jules Garnier, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004.
Facsimile of Swiss William Tell deck from c.1870 published by Lo Scarabeo.
The Bristol Pack, an exhibition of playing cards designed by Bristol artists, 2005.
Eroticartes with drawings by Pino Zac, 1983.
The Curator Deck with designs by Emmanuel José with suit symbols cleverly transformed into artistic designs.
Baracca & Burattini puppetry deck printed by Dal Negro, 1998.
Sherlock Holmes deck with caricatures by Jeff Decker published by Gemaco Playing Card Co. 1989
Martin Mystère based on the comic book by Alfredo Castelli. The cards were designed by Giancarlo Alessandrini.
Facsimile of “Le Jeu de la Guerre” designed by Gilles de la Boissière in 1698.
Naval and Military Families produced by Prince and Princess Louis of Battenberg, printed by Ernst Nister of Nuremberg, c.1905-10.
National Gallery (Dutch School) published by J. Jaques & Son, c.1895.
La Mariée du Mardi-Gras, published by Jeux et Jouets Français. Paris, early 1900s.
Vanity Fair No.41 Playing Cards by the United States Playing Card Co, 1895. All the number cards have been imaginatively transformed.
Klutz Card Deck with comic courts.
The Woman’s Hour playing cards published by David Westnedge, 1996.
Bicycle Emotions playing cards with custom emotions on the courts to help you bluff at cards, 2013.
The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art, 1979.
A Motley Pack - transformation playing cards & ‘On The Cards’ book facsimile published by Sunish Chabba, 2019.
Les Géants d'un Mythe created by François Poulain and manufactured by Grimaud, 1983.
Avventure di Pinocchio by Dal Negro, based on Carlo Collodi’s famous 1883 novel “The Adventures of Pinocchio”.
‘Cat Chaos Celebrity Edition’ card game by Ginger Fox Ltd., 2017.
World Leaders Snap published around WW2, c.1940.
Hand-drawn semi-erotic, satirical playing cards by Lautaro Fiszman ‘El Tripero’, 2002.
Facsimile of Dondorf’s “Musikalisches Kartenspiel” (c.1862) published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004
Pinocchio fairy tale playing cards illustrated by Iassen Ghiuselev for Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
Jeu Grotesque was first published in France c.1800.
Dal Negro Bridge set featuring old Vienna pattern courts.
“Carte Romane” designed by Giorgio Pessione, 1973, celebrating the history of Rome.