This is a hand-drawn transformation using a pencil on a standard pack made by Hunt’s Playing Card Manufacturing Co (London) and dated 1874. The repertoire of images on the cards includes various animals, flowers, insects, exotic costumes, eccentric persons, dinner parties, quarrels, ladies’ hats, fishes, a scientific experiment, a card game, oarsmen, a marriage, swimmers, infantry, a musical gathering, pipe smokers and a stage coach. There is also a reference to King Coffee Calcalli (QD) as well as fetish items such as skulls, cannibalism and devils. Possibly there is a connection with British rule in the Gold Coast of Africa and The Ashantee War. Some interesting amendments have also been made to the court cards.
The artist has customised the ace of spades by turning the shield into Thomas Walters’ family coat-of-arms, adding the name of his home as the motto. The supporting lion and unicorn, as well as the coronet etc., are of course part of the original ace of spades. The pack contains two self-portraits (3 Spades, 10 Hearts), presumably Thomas Walters Esq. himself, one in full dress uniform.