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Published March 15, 2024 Updated March 15, 2024

Commoners playing cards

Created by Ian Cumpstey dedicated to the common land and the countryside.

2020 United Kingdom Cartamundi Ian Cumpstey Kickstarter Nature & Environment Suits Add to Collection

This is another pack by Cumbrian artist and designer Ian Cumpstey. The style and appearance of these cards are based on traditional German-suited playing cards, with international standard indices and pips added in the four corners for ease of use.

In the German tradition of playing cards, the pips in the suits of suits of leaves and acorns grow from a central stem. For these Commoners cards, the spades and clubs suits are drawn in this way. The hearts and diamonds suits are arranged in the manner typical of the German hearts and bells suits. All the pip cards have an individual illustration - like a fox, a rooster, a cuckoo, clouds, a mountain, and so on, which might be thought of as representing universal ideas. Much of the artwork is inspired by the local landscape, fauna and surroundings in Cumbria in the north of England.

In relation to the courts, Cumpstey has followed the German convention of pip placement for the Ober and Unter, but with male and female jacks and queens. None of the court cards in this set are obviously royal figures. Instead, they are commoners in the sense that they are using --- in one way or another --- the common land in the countryside. Such a rural rustic feel is actually typical of many German playing cards. There are two jokers and two extra information cards. See the box

Commoners playing cards created by Ian Cumpstey, printed by Cartamundi, 2020 Commoners playing cards created by Ian Cumpstey, printed by Cartamundi, 2020 Commoners playing cards created by Ian Cumpstey, printed by Cartamundi, 2020

Above: Commoners playing cards created by Ian Cumpstey, printed by Cartamundi, 2020.

Reference

Much of the above description is taken from the original Kickstarter campaign website

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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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