SHELLEY FOWLES on the cards
Shelley Fowles was born in South Africa but has lived in the United Kingdom since 1979. She trained in Art in Brighton and London where her training culminated in a diploma in Graphic Art and Design specialising in Illustration. She has exhibited work in London and Brighton and has designed greeting cards and wrapping paper which have been sold all over the world. At the moment she is illustrating children's books. Recently she has become interested in playing cards from the design point of view. She is attracted to them both as an illustrator and designer because of the fascinating possibilities they offer, within a long tradition. The idea that they are beautiful objects that, at the same time have a function is particularly attractive.
The idea of Unnatural History is based on the Gothic animal/human mixtures so popular in the Middle Ages. "I tried to make it so that the difference between the halves was not noticeable at first, but came as a shock after further acqaintance with the pack. This seems to have worked with a lot of people!"
The suits all reflect different eras. The hearts the eighteenth century, the diamonds the seventeenth, the clubs the sixteenth and the spades the fifteenth. A couple of the court cards are based on portraits of famous people but not all, Jane Seymour, The Duke and Duchess of Sforza, Charles II, Sarah Siddons are there amongst them. Each suit also represents a group of the animal kingdom: Hearts are mammals; Diamonds are birds; Clubs are fish and Spades are reptiles. This is also reflected in the pip cards.
"This is my first pack. As things become more and more mass-produced there seems space for hand produced and small edition packs that reflect the individuality of designer and collector. Most of the time spent is on producing the artwork which is intricate, often worked with magnifying glass, in watercolour and gouache. Then the artwork is photocopied and stuck on light card which is laminated. The boxes are also painstakingly hand-made and covered with expensive and beautiful papers. The packs themselves each take a couple of weeks to put together. The materials are quite expensive and so are the colour photocopies. The lamination seals the artwork and makes a sturdy card that can be played with, cleaned and that will last "
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.
Publicity items for a group of entertainers, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK, 1911.
Cards made by John Waddington Ltd. for the Madras Club, Chennai (formerly Madras), India, c.1930.
54 different personalities from the city of Inverness published by the Highland Hospice.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme covers from 1956 to 2016 published by Winning Moves UK Ltd.
Images from the Ministry of Defence Cape Wrath Training Centre, Sutherland, Scotland. Published 2010.
Celebrating the work of Andreas Vesalius in the quincentenary year of his birth.
Rock paintings and engravings of the San people, better known as the “Bushmen”.
Great Britains’s Olympic gold medallists from 1964 to 2004 published by the British Olympic Association.
Celebration of the work of David Kindersley, stone letter-carver and typeface designer. Published by the Cardozo Kindersley Workshop, Cambridge, UK, 2015.
Pack celebrating the rugby world champions of 2003. Produced by MMcardz.
“Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne” cover historical events, both honourable and treacherous, during the period 1702 to 1704.
Hall & Son
Comic Fortune-Telling Cards published by Reynolds & Sons, c.1850.
Comic Question & Answer cards by Josh. Reynolds & Sons, circa 1850.
This deck is named after Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu (1585-1642), a French Roman Catholic Clergyman and statesman, Chief Adviser to King Louis XIII, noted for the authoritarian measures he employed to maintain power.
Schweizer Trachten No.174 (Costumes Suisses) by Dondorf.
Myriorama of Italian scenery, 1824.
Hand-drawn Transformation cards, c.1870.
PLAYING CARDS: A Secret History
Sergeant-Major card game devised by W.G.Smith
We are deeply saddened by news of the passing of Anthony Rex Pitts (1940-2021).
The Story of Pepys Games by Rex Pitts
Jacob Wolfe Spear founded his company manufacturing fancy goods in 1879 near Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany
Chad Valley Co. Ltd (incorporating Johnson Brothers (Harborne) Ltd, the long-established UK brand bought by Woolworths in 1988 and now sold at Argos.
Multum in Parvo published a range of indoor games during the period from 1884-1927.
The founder of Ariel Productions, Philip Marx, was a prolific publisher of children’s books and comics towards the end of and just after the Second World War.
Kum-Bak Sports, Toys & Games MFG Co., Ltd, London S.E.11
Crazy People children’s card game illustrated by caricaturist and graphic artist Walter Trier, c.1950.
Panko (Votes for Women) suffragette card game published by Peter Gurney Ltd, c.1912.
Anonymous Snap game, 1930s.
Panto People published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
Hats-Off! miniature card game published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
Zoo-Boots published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
The XIXth Century published by John Jaques & Son, c.1875.
The ‘Rinker’ highly amusing snap game, c.1910.
Round the World Happy Families by Chiefton Products Ltd of Bristol, c.1950s.
Abbatt Toys Animal Families, c.1970.
French for Fun instructive card game published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930s
Counties of Britain by John Jaques & Son Ltd. c.1930.
Alice with artwork by Jesús Blasco, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.