Antique English playing cards by C. Hewson
Perhaps the best known early English playing card maker is known as “C. Hewson”.
However, there may never have been such card-maker. There are no references to anyone of that name in the Worshipful Company records, no adverts referring to him, nothing. It seems to be a name given to the Jack of Clubs in the wake of a non-standard pack of the late 17th century in which the JC is the historical figure, Cobbler Hewson, the regicide.
In this example, the standard English woodcut courts are not as misformed or distorted as they became later, and preserve features relating to the original French designs from which they derive. For example, the plants in the background of the Jacks, the Queens holding a bird or more elaborate flowers and the King of Hearts holding a battle axe, as well as a generally more realistic appearance, all gradually succumbed to a sort of industrial deterioration over time.
To order copies of the book "English card-makers and their wood-block cards: a classification of their distinguishing features with a particular focus on the period 1790-1830" by Ken Lodge and Paul Bostock, contact Ken Lodge by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Anonymous archaic Spanish Suited pack, c.1760
Antique deck of old Bohemian playing cards of the German type manufactured by Georg Kapfler and dated 1611.
Animal suited playing cards engraved by the Master of the Playing Cards, Germany, c.1455
Inspired by an archaic Spanish pattern formerly used in Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Antique English woodblock playing cards by a card maker named C. Hewson, mid-17th century.
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19th century Portuguese pattern, re-printed from original woodblocks.
Uncoloured and uncut sheet of XV Century Catalan Playing Cards, featuring four female Sotas, four Aces and four cards from the suit of batons.
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Joan Barbot, San Sebastian c.1765-1810.
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Archaic, late medieval Spanish-suited playing cards printed by Phelippe Ayet, c.1574.
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Primitive Latin suited pack, possibly of Swiss or German origin for export to Spain, dated by paper analysis as early XV century, which makes this one of the earliest known surviving packs of playing cards.
Probably originating in Spain in the seventeenth century or even earlier, this pattern became strongly established by the Catalan cardmakers Rotxotxo of Barcelona.
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Cards from a pack of an early form of north Italian playing cards, with the swords back-to-back and curved outwards. Believed to be Venetian, dated 1462.
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