The World of Playing Cards Logo
Published July 01, 2014 Updated July 20, 2023

Russian Four Seasons

“Seasons” playing cards designed by U. P. Ivanov and published by The Colour Printing Plant in St Petersburg.

1971 Russia Colour Printing Plant U. P. Ivanov Art & Design Add to Collection

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.

“Seasons” playing cards first published by The Colour Printing Plant in St Petersburg in 1971

Above: “Seasons” playing cards first published by The Colour Printing Plant in St Petersburg in 1971, designed by U. P. Ivanov. 52 cards + 2 Jokers.

Note from Roddy Somerville

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.

“Seasons” playing cards second version c.1992 “Seasons” playing cards second version c.1992

Above: “Seasons” playing cards, second version, with stronger colours, larger indices and small vignettes on the numeral cards, c.1992. The Joker now has pale yellow shading and the black border line has been removed.

avatar
773 Articles

By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

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.


Related Articles

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

A limited edition art print of the 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil King of Diamonds

Woodblock and Stencil King of Diamonds

A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.

Portrait Playing Cards

Portrait Playing Cards

Portrait playing cards, featuring realistic drawings of people on the court cards instead of traditi...

1985 Paco Lobo

Paco Lobo

Highly original and striking designs by Paco Lobo for the fashion house of the same name.

1978 Wedding of Krechinsky • Свадьба Кречинского

Wedding of Krechinsky • Свадьба Кречинского

A pack of cards depicting characters from the famous play "The Wedding of Krechinsky" by Sukhovo-Kob...

1962 Jeu Boléro

Jeu Boléro

Sweeping, semi-abstract designs by J.L. Jolin in red and black only.

1968 Knoll International

Knoll International

Geometric designs by the French artist Jean Garçon for Knoll International, the furniture company.

1973 Marcello Morandini

Marcello Morandini

Modern designs by Italian artist Marcello Morandini using the simplest of forms and colours.

1997 Claude Weisbuch

Claude Weisbuch

Free reinterpretation of the traditional Paris pattern courts by the artist Claude Weisbuch.

2010 El Niño de las Pinturas

El Niño de las Pinturas

Forty-nine distinctive works by Spanish graffiti artist Raúl Ruiz.

2017 Russian folk art playing cards

Russian folk art playing cards

Russian folk art playing cards produced by Natalia Silva, USA, 2017.

2015 Branle playing cards

Branle playing cards

‘Branle’ playing cards inspired by a 12th-century dance, produced by Noir Arts, USA, 2015.

2019 Pendleton playing cards

Pendleton playing cards

Pendleton playing cards inspired by indigenous American artwork, USA, 2019.

2021 Old School Playing cards from Moon

Old School Playing cards from Moon

Designed and published by Leo Scherfig

2005 Tarot of the Thousand and One Nights (1001 Nights Tarot)

Tarot of the Thousand and One Nights (1001 Nights Tarot)

This tarot deck captures the idealised Eastern world's magic from the eighteenth and nineteenth cent...

1945 ORIENT The Queen of Cards

ORIENT The Queen of Cards

A unique Art creation of Subho Tagore

2015 Newtropolis and the Fantastic Fur

Newtropolis and the Fantastic Fur

Newtropolis and the Fantastic Fur: Heroes vs. Villains playing cards illustrated by Peter Wood, 2015...

1986 Baraja Española de Pintores Murcianos

Baraja Española de Pintores Murcianos

A Spanish-suited pack as conceived by 48 different artists from the region of Murcia.

2002 Le Jeu d’Issy

Le Jeu d’Issy

Bold designs by Jacques Auriac representing people and enterprises for which the town of Issy-les-Mo...

1984 Bilder zum Tarot

Bilder zum Tarot

Detailed pen and ink drawings of the major arcana by the German artist Helmut Wonschick.

2000 Le Jeu de la Chance

Le Jeu de la Chance

Original designs by French artist Jean Vérame, with clubs replaced by four-leaf clovers to bring goo...

2005 Theatre of Pain / Teatr Boli

Theatre of Pain / Teatr Boli

Theatre of Pain / Teatr boli playing cards depicting politicians and leaders in the Caucasus territo...

1991 Secretos de Oriente

Secretos de Oriente

Secrets of the Far East playing cards featuring the designs of Violeta Monreal , Spain, c. 1991.

1990 Ases de la pintura / Masters of painting

Ases de la pintura / Masters of painting

Ases de la pintura / Masters of painting playing cards made by Naipes Comas, Spain, c.1990.

2000 CCCP playing cards

CCCP playing cards

Soviet and other Communist celebrities depicted on every card, designed by Vladislav Pankevitch.

1993 Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art playing cards designed by Takenobu Igarashi.

1988 Festa Major de Vilafranca 1988

Festa Major de Vilafranca 1988

Colourful figures associated with the annual festival held in Vilafranca, Catalonia.

2018 Russian criminal tattoos and playing cards

Russian criminal tattoos and playing cards

Russian criminal tattoos and playing cards, United Kingdom, 2018.

1994 Crystal Time

Crystal Time

Colourful and attractive designs by Violeta Monreal, inspired by stained glass through the ages.

1942 Lidia Schöffer art-deco playing cards

Lidia Schöffer art-deco playing cards

A prize winning design from The Netherlands

2002 World of the New Russians

World of the New Russians

‘World of the New Russians’ (Mir novykh russkikh) satirical playing cards, 2002.

2003 C-Arts

C-Arts

Collective Arts pack designed by sixty-three collaborating artists, illustrators and designers, Russ...

2002 Ministry of Emergency Situations

Ministry of Emergency Situations

Emergency response playing cards published by the Kombinat Tsvetnoi Pechati (Colour Printing Combine...

2000 Castle Rock Club

Castle Rock Club

Castle Rock Club playing cards featuring Russian rock stars and musicians, c. 2000.

Treasures of the Hermitage / Shedevry Ermitazha

Treasures of the Hermitage / Shedevry Ermitazha

‘Treasures of the Hermitage Museum’ souvenir playing cards (‘Shedevry Ermitazha’), Russia.

2005 Trading Mart

Trading Mart

‘Trading Mart’ playing cards published by RusJoker, St Petersburg, 2005.

Chinese Opera Masks Playing Cards   脸谱

Chinese Opera Masks Playing Cards 脸谱

Three different packs of cards featuring traditional Chinese face painting and Chinese opera masks.

1930 Oude Kunst (Old Art) playing cards with Wüst courts

Oude Kunst (Old Art) playing cards with Wüst courts

made for export to the Netherlands.

2021 History of the Russian Revolution

History of the Russian Revolution

A pack of playing cards about the Russian Revolution, USA, c. 2021.

Russian Playing Card History - From the Beginnings to 1917

Russian Playing Card History - From the Beginnings to 1917

An in-depth review of the history of card-playing, gambling, legislation, manufacture and taxation o...

1798 Russian Playing Card Monopoly

Russian Playing Card Monopoly

The Russian Playing Card Monopoly was established in March 1798 with all revenue going to support th...

1943 Anti-Fascist cards, 1943

Anti-Fascist cards, 1943

Satirical Anti-Fascist cards designed in 1943 by Ivan Ivanovich Kharkevich.