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Published June 18, 2023 Updated June 18, 2023

Amorcillos

‘Amorcillos’ (Cupids), a masterpiece from the golden age of Spanish playing cards by Clemente Roxas, Madrid, 1790.

1790 Spain Clemente de Roxas Children Fantasy Luxury Add to Collection

During the eighteenth century, and early nineteenth, there was a "golden age" of playing cards in Spain, characterized by significant development in the artistic production of non-standard and finely engraved packs. This period saw the creation of high-quality decks featuring exquisite and detailed designs. Many publishers in Madrid were now producing magnificent de luxe playing cards that were miniature works of art.

A notable masterpiece from this era is "Amorcillos" (Cupids), a 48-card pack published by Clemente Roxas, crafted in 1790. These cards showcase imaginative designs, with cupids introduced on each card in a popular neo-classical style of the time. The "golden age" of Spanish playing cards represents their finest hour, a significant milestone in their history and continues to inspire the production of Spanish decks today.

Amorcillos (Cupids) by Clemente Roxas, Madrid, 1790. © The Trustees of the British Museum Amorcillos (Cupids) by Clemente Roxas, Madrid, 1790. © The Trustees of the British Museum Amorcillos (Cupids) by Clemente Roxas, Madrid, 1790. © The Trustees of the British Museum Amorcillos (Cupids) by Clemente Roxas, Madrid, 1790. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Above: ‘Amorcillos’ (Cupids) by Clemente Roxas, Madrid, 1790. 48 cards, copper plate etching, hand coloured. Backs marbled and edges gilt. © The Trustees of the British Museum • Museum number 1896,0501.146

References

Denning, Trevor: The Playing-Cards of Spain, Cygnus Arts, London, 1996

O’Donoghue, Freeman M: Catalogue of the collection of playing cards bequeathed by Lady Charlotte Schreiber, Trustees of the British Museum, London, 1901 (Spanish 53). [digital version here]

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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