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Published July 03, 1996 Updated August 03, 2022

Art in Playing Cards, page 5

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Balthus c.1950


Since its introduction into Europe, over 600 years ago, the playing card has been used as a medium for decorative art, as well as for playing games of chance. Whilst some early packs were luxury, hand-made items, painted in many colours and enriched with gold and embossing, more rudimentary packs, made from cheaper materials and simpler methods of production, also existed.

The links below show a selection of playing card art.

Francis Barlow

Designer of the Knavery of the Rump satirical playing cards, 1679.

Owen Jones

A Welsh architect and designer who worked for De La Rue

Aymer Vallance

Worked for Peerless Playing Card Co.

Apel-les Mestres

A Catalan artist who designed a pack for Dondorf, 1902

Karlis Padegs (1911-1940)

A Latvian artist who designed a pack of playing cards in 1936


Artist who worked for Waddington's during the 1930s

Carlos Ruano Llopis

A Spanish Bullfight artist who worked in Mexico

Simultané by Sonia Delaunay

Abstract designs bringing order and lyricism together

Franciszek Bunsch

Assistant Professor in the Cracovian Academy of Fine Art

Anna Gaber

Polish playing card designer, 1970s

The Adobe Deck

Using computer-aided design.

'Le Jeu de la Chance' by Jean Vérame

Vérame has de-constructed the traditional cards…

Carlos Loiseau

Cartoon playing cards for Parliament Cigarettes (Buenos Aires, 1977)


The 52 Club Catalogue 1984

Karl Gerich


The Devil's Picturebook

A pack designed by 4 visual artists.

'Safe as Houses' by Catherine Kelly

Mimicking the careful construct of the playing-card.

Filigree Deck by Emily Arkin

Pips based on arabesque spirals and doodles.

Cats, Cakes, Clothes and Cups

A unique hand-made deck from Australia.

Self-Nurture Solitaire

Helping to improve your inner life…

The Deal Playing Card Project

An "Exhibition in a Box".

Chance Playing Cards

Exploring the relationship between art and science…

Peter Wood

A playing-card designer from Stevenage (UK)

Colours of the Four Seasons

A deck by 26 different artists.

Alvaros/Eduardo Carrión

A special pack from Uruguay.

Fernando Pessoa Pack

Exploring the mind of the poet…

The Irish Hospice Art:Pack

An eclectic mix of interpretation…

Karen Curran's Enchanted Journey

Playing cards from Australia with Unicorns

Bonnie Blue's Playing Card Designs

Bonnie Blue's Rummy Cards

C. J. Freeman

The Picture Book of Ana Cortez

Carmen G Carballeira

Celtic Mythology Playing Cards


See also: "On The Cards…" the online gallery of playing card artists and designers

Playing Card Design  Links  Bibliography


1440 Articles

By Simon Wintle

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.

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