Originally titled “Seasons” or “Times of the Year” and first published by The Colour Printing Plant in St Petersburg in 1971, these cards were designed by artist U. P. Ivanov. Each suit is allegorical of one of the four seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer & Autumn.
The graphic design is clear, decorative and geometrical, with straightforward symmetry and colour coordination in each suit. The attributes of the court figures add a touch of the theatrical and enhance the symbolism of the seasons, giving a sense of drama and overall integration to the design. The Joker's masks provide the means of transformation from one persona to another.
A second version of this pack was issued in 1992 (or possibly earlier). There are several differences. Overall, the colours are stronger. The later printing has larger indices. Whereas in the first printing the pip cards were plain, these are now decorated, each with a small scene or vignette in pale grey, with pale blue (black suits) or pale yellow (red suits) shading in two corners. The Joker now has similar pale yellow shading but the black border line has been removed. There is a new back design, featuring a stylised owl in the centre. The 1992 printing which I have has a matt finish, while the 1993 printing has a glossy finish - R.S.
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.
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