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Published February 11, 2023 Updated March 17, 2023

Treasures of the Hermitage / Shedevry Ermitazha

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

Russia Hermitage Museum Art Gallery Souvenir Add to Collection
Treasures of the Hermitage Museum playing cards (Shedevry Ermitazha), St Petersburg, Russia

Each of the 54 cards in this pack displays a photograph of some of the major holdings housed within the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, including art works by Rubens, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Rembrandt; sculptures and applied art by Fabergé, Michelangelo, Rodin, etc. The name of the work and the artist is given in both English and Russian.

The Hermitage in St Petersburg was founded in 1764, and is now one of the largest museums in the world with over 3 million items dating from the Stone Age to the present, housed within five interconnected buildings, including the Winter Palace (the official residence of the House of Romanov from 1732 to 1917), the Small, Old, and New Hermitages, and the Hermitage Theatre.

The Hermitage holds one of the world’s richest collections of western European painting since the Middle Ages, including many masterpieces by Renaissance Italian and Baroque Dutch, Flemish, and French painters, together with sculpture, and applied art from the 13th to the 20th centuries. The Hermitage also has extensive holdings of Asian art; especially its collection of the art of Central Asia.

Treasures of the Hermitage Museum playing cards (Shedevry Ermitazha), St Petersburg, Russia Treasures of the Hermitage Museum playing cards (Shedevry Ermitazha), St Petersburg, Russia Treasures of the Hermitage Museum playing cards (Shedevry Ermitazha), St Petersburg, Russia

Above: Treasures of the Hermitage Museum souvenir playing cards (Shedevry Ermitazha), St Petersburg, Russia.

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.

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