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Published April 07, 2023 Updated May 06, 2023

British Political Images

Playing cards depicting British political images from the Bodleian Libraries.

2010 United Kingdom Bodleian Library Commemorative Political Add to Collection

In 2010 a special pack of cards was produced by the Bodleian Library in a limited edition run of 200 to celebrate that year’s Founder’s Day Lunch – an annual event to honour the memory of its founder, Sir Thomas Bodley (1545-1613) and his legacy of philanthropy. The pack was distributed to the c. 150 guests – mainly benefactors, donors and Friends of the Library. The images on the cards were taken from three of the Library’s archival collections:

  • The John Johnson Collection of printed ephemera with c. 1.5 million items dating from 1508-1939
  • The Conservative Party archive, dating back to 1867
  • The Conservative Party aArchive poster collection.

There are two additional cards: the first provides information about the three sources above, and the second explains how to support the work of the Bodleian Library. See the box

British political images from the Bodleian Libraries, United Kingdom, 2010 British political images from the Bodleian Libraries, United Kingdom, 2010 British political images from the Bodleian Libraries, United Kingdom, 2010

Above: Playing cards depicting British political images from the Bodleian Libraries, United Kingdom, 2010. Limited edition of 200.

NOTE: This review first appeared (with fewer images) in the English Playing Card Society Newsletter, no. 129, August 2020, p. 6-7.

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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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