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.
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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.
Dolls Gallery / Galereia kukol : karty igral’nye / published by Varvara Skripkina, 2003.
Treasures of the Russian Museum / Russkii Muzei : suvenirnye igral’nye karty.
Rossiia / Municipal Coats-of-Arms of Russian Federation.
The first nested doll set was carved in 1890.
Palekh and Kholui lacquer miniatures.
Playing cards in Russian life - Karty v zhizni Rossii - published by Aleksandr Lutkovskii in 2004.
Spot the Difference playing cards published in "Razvlekatel’naia Gazetka" newspaper, 1998-1999.
Samye malen’kie v mire igral’nye karty / The world’s smallest playing cards
Hunting playing cards / “Okhotnich’i karty” with illustrations by the court artist Mihály Zichy.
Russian Emperors playing cards / “Rossiiskie imperatory karty igral’nye” produced and illustrated by Aleksei Orleanskii, 2006.
Russian Beer playing cards / “Russkoe pivo karty igral’nye” produced in 2006
Dead Souls, or “Mertvye dushi igral’nye karty” produced in 2006 by Aleksei Orleanskii.
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.