These brightly coloured and poetic designs by Pavel Bazhenov were first published by the the Colour Printing Plant (1817-2004) in St. Petersburg in 1937 as “Black Palekh”, with black backgrounds, for the World Exhibition in 1937, and reprinted in 1967 for the 150th anniversary of the Leningrad/St. Petersburg playing-card factory. The “White Palekh” (Palekh = miniature painting, lacquer art) version shown here was first issued in 1982. It has gold overprinting which does not show up well in scans. The four Jacks are depicted as horsemen.
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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.
Rock paintings and engravings of the San people, better known as the “Bushmen”.
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.
Hand-drawn Transformation cards, c.1870.
Alice with artwork by Jesús Blasco, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
Liberty playing cards designed by Antonella Castelli, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
Baracca & Burattini puppetry deck printed by Dal Negro, 1998.
Sherlock Holmes deck with caricatures by Jeff Decker published by Gemaco Playing Card Co. 1989
Martin Mystère based on the comic book by Alfredo Castelli. The cards were designed by Giancarlo Alessandrini.
‘Seefahrers’ maritime deck designed by Klaus Ensikat for Deutsche Seereederei Rostock, GDR.
Ukiyo-E deck for Sanyo Enterprise Co.
Year of the Child commemorative deck designed by Jhan Paulussen, 1979.
The Maya Deck produced by Stancraft for Hoyle, 1976.
‘Einhorn’ designed by Richard König, c.1986.
Bicycle Steampunk playing cards with Gothic artwork by Anne Stokes, 2015.
“Renaissance” playing card designs by A I Charlemagne, 1862.
Bicycle Knights playing cards designed by Sam Hayles in 2018.
‘Friendly Felines’ playing cards designed by Azured Ox, 2017.
Gods of Egypt playing cards dedicated to the culture of Ancient Egypt.
Bicycle 808 Bourbon themed deck by US Playing Card Company 2017.
Alice in Wonderland playing cards designed by Sasha Dounaevski, 2018.
“Kaiserkarte” first published by Schneider & Co in 1895-1897 for the Imperial Court.
Age of Dragons by Anne Stokes, 2017.
Anne Stokes Collection playing cards, 2010.
The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art, 1979.
My wife and I have recently commissioned a unique pair of stained glass windows for our home.
The Four Worlds playing cards by artist Aleksey Zhiryakov in the stylistic traditions of Palekh, 2018.
Chinese playing card makers have probably produced the widest variety of jokers of any single part of the world.
An unknown deck by Ken McCarthy, c.2018.
Les Grandes Figures de L’Histoire Bretonne
Kalevala playing cards by Sunish Chabba and Ishan Trivedi inspired by ancient Finnish mythology.
Hearts of London for British Heart Foundation 2009.
Worshipful Company Pack manufactured by Chas Goodall & Son, 1893.
Roman Empire playing cards designed by G. Wyatt for Green Board Game Co Ltd., 2011.
Virginie Houdet “Cartes à Jouer” limited edition, 2017.
Bharata Playing Cards - Series 2, based on Indian folk art, published by Sunish Chabba, 2018.
Salon-Karte No.66 designed by Walter Krauss, c.1970
“Leipziger Skat-Karte” depicting scenes from the Leipzig Industry and Trade Exhibition designed by Arthur Lewin, 1897.
Neue Deutsche Spielkarte (Reformkarte) conceived by Dr. Timon Schroeter, 1883.
Pinocchio fairy tale playing cards illustrated by Iassen Ghiuselev for Lo Scarabeo, 2003.