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Published March 07, 2023 Updated March 07, 2023

Decadence?

“Decadence?” playing cards published by the Crafts Council, London in 1999.

1999 United Kingdom Crafts Council Collaborative Add to Collection

The Decadence? pack was published in London by the Crafts Council in 1999 to accompany the exhibition of the same name at the Crafts Council Gallery, 21 January to 14 March 1999. The pack was published in a limited edition of 750 copies.

Unfortunately, in 2006 the Crafts Council decreased its on-site activity and closed its Gallery, shop, education workshop and café in order for the Crafts Council to increase its regional activity via partnership working. The Crafts Council however still thrives - see here

The cards themselves have 4-corner indices and depict the works of 20 outstanding makers who were asked to show their work about decadence in the 1990s. The pip cards (1-9) have decadence-related quotations from the works of well-known artists and writers such as Oscar Wilde, Germaine Greer, Grayson Perry, Camille Paglia and lesser-known figures such as John Makepeace, Andy Hazell and Lucian Taylor. The Aces, 10s and court cards show artworks by modern artists such as David Hensel, Janet Stoyel and others. See the box

“Decadence?” playing cards published by the Crafts Council, London in 1999 “Decadence?” playing cards published by the Crafts Council, London in 1999

Above: “Decadence?” playing cards published by the Crafts Council, London in 1999.

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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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