The World of Playing Cards Logo
Published August 02, 2013 Updated August 05, 2022

Charles Hodges

Charles Hodges produced engraved geographical and astronomical decks, London, c.1827-30.

1828 United Kingdom Hodges Stopforth Astrology Astronomy Education Geography Myths & Legends Transformation Zodiac Add to Collection

Above: Charles Hodges' Geographical cards were originally published in 1827. The Aces carry maps of the four continents; the court cards depict historical persons representing the four continents and the other numeral cards show maps of the respective countries. The aces of Spades Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs respectively represent the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. George Washington appears as the King of Spades and King George IV as the King of Hearts. A magnificent Chinese Emperor appears as the King of Diamonds. These maps from the numeral cards were re-used for the Astrological cards shown below. The images above are from a facsimile edition of cards in the Cary Collection at Yale University. Images courtesy Rod Starling.

Charles Hodges operated as a bookseller and stationer at 27 Portman Street, Portman Square, London, from 1825-6 until 1830. Following the tradition of engraved pictorial playing cards depicting educational, scientific and other subjects, which had its heyday in England during the 17th-18th centuries, Hodges published these Geographical and Astronomical packs starting in around 1827. The Geographical cards (shown above) were probably inspired by a pack made in France by René Janet in 1825 called “Boston de l'Univers ou Jeu des quatre parties du Monde”. The English version is believed to have been made for Hodges by Stopforth & Son in London. The Astronomical pack (shown below) was also likely made by Stopforth & Son. These are amongst the last of the finely engraved English packs as chromolithography was soon to take over.

Astrophilogeon, c.1828

Hodges' companion pack dealing with astronomy had numeral cards carrying diagrams of constellations and their pictorial representations; the court cards represent classical deities. The aim of the game was to obtain pairs of map and constellation cards from similar parts of the terrestrial and celestial globes. Information about the locality was printed at the bottom of the cards and the latitude or declination was displayed as a corner index at the top left under a large 'N' or 'S'. The maps which were used in the Geographical cards were again re-used, without any suit signs stencilled in, to complete the Astrophilogeon decks.

Astrophilogeon, c.1828, made for Charles Hodges by Stopforth & Son

Above: Astrophilogeon, c.1828, made for Charles Hodges by Stopforth & Son. The basic aim of the game was to obtain pairs of map and constellation cards from similar parts of the terrestrial and celestial globes. The maps used in the Geographical cards with stencilled pips (below) were re-used in the Astrophilogeon decks (above) with the extra information over-printed from a second plate.

Map cards with stencilled suit symbols

Hodges had published supplementary sets of 40 map or constellation cards with no suit signs or other information printed on them, or accompanying court cards, as New Geographical Cards and New Astronomical Cards, and was able to re-use the same plates for both his Geographical and Astrophilogeon decks with the additional information over-printed from separate plates or stencils. After Hodges ceased trading in c.1830 the packs were re-issued in 1838-9 by William and Henry Rock possibly, at first, using the same plates but subsequently moving to lithographic printing.


REFERENCES

Berry, John: Hodges' Artful Dodges, in "The Playing-Card", vol.30, no.2, Sept/Oct 2001.

Mann, Sylvia: All Cards on the Table, Jonas Verlag/Deutsches Spielkarten-Museum, Leinfelden-Echterdingen, 1990

See also:   Robert Morden's Map cards, 1676Knavery of the Rump, 1679Arms of English Peers, 1688Mechanical instruments, c.1700Marlborough's Victories, 1707Fortune-Telling Cards, c.1714South Sea Bubble, 1720The Beggar's Opera, 1728Cries of London, 1754Transformation Cards, 1811Imperial Royal pack, 1828

avatar
1,432 Articles

By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


Related Articles

Woodblock and Stencil King of Diamonds

Woodblock and Stencil King of Diamonds

A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

A limited edition art print of the 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Clubs

A limited edition art print of the Jack of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.

1904 Miniature Card Dominoes

Miniature Card Dominoes

A miniature set of Goodall domino cards (5.9 x 3.5 cms) still in perfect condition.

Calon Arang • Калон Аранг - Бали

Calon Arang • Калон Аранг - Бали

Calon Arang, a figure from 12th-century Javanese and Balinese folklore known as a witch skilled in b...

1875 T. Drayton & Son

T. Drayton & Son

Bezique and Whist boxed sets by T. Drayton & Son, London, c.1875.

2011 Colour doodle deck

Colour doodle deck

“1952-2002 commemorative deck” customised with doodles by an uncredited artist, UK, 2011.

2003 Safety playing cards

Safety playing cards

Safety playing cards designed to reinforce the “Think and Be Safe” concept.

1978 Carte Osteologiche

Carte Osteologiche

Skulls and bones of all descriptions have become the suits and pips in this 40-card pack from Italy....

2020 Alice in Wonderland: we’re all mad here

Alice in Wonderland: we’re all mad here

Alice in Wonderland themed playing cards, UK, 2020.

1987 Postgeschichte

Postgeschichte

A celebration of different postal systems in Germany from 1630 to 1850, with designs by Volker Hartm...

1825 Mythological tarot by Michael Schatzberger

Mythological tarot by Michael Schatzberger

Mythological tarot by Michael Schatzberger, Passau, Bavaria, early 19th century.

1970 Ripley’s Believe It or Not! playing cards

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! playing cards

Strange facts from Robert Ripley’s ‘Believe It or Not’ books, in the form of cartoons.

2023 Wren 300 playing cards

Wren 300 playing cards

Papercuts by Chloe Campbell of the 52 Wren churches in the City of London.

2023 Marlow playing cards

Marlow playing cards

Visitor attractions and businesses to be found in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

2010 Playing Politics 2010

Playing Politics 2010

“Playing Politics ’10: With no expenses spared” featuring caricatures by Oliver Preston, published b...

1992 Playing Politics ’92: Pack of lies

Playing Politics ’92: Pack of lies

Playing Politics ’92: Pack of lies with caricatures by Grant Robertson, UK.

2005 B-Deck

B-Deck

“B-Deck” scurrilous playing cards poking fun at a former UK prime minister.

52 Ways to talk about adoption

52 Ways to talk about adoption

‘52 Ways to talk about adoption’ family-centred playing cards produced by the Center for Adoption Su...

1967 Winstanley Geographical cards

Winstanley Geographical cards

Facsimile of Winstanley’s Geographical cards produced by Harold & Virginia Wayland, 1967.

1971 Meal Tub Plot

Meal Tub Plot

Meal Tub Plot playing cards [facsimile] with 17th century sketches by Francis Barlow.

Golf playing cards

Golf playing cards

Golf playing cards published by Marks & Spencer, UK.

2020 5th Kingdom playing cards

5th Kingdom playing cards

5th Kingdom Luxury playing cards designed by Maria Fedoseeva, USA, 2020.

Mythological and Allegorical tarot

Mythological and Allegorical tarot

Mythological and Allegorical tarot produced by Peter Paul Fetscher junior, Munich.

2011 Great inventions playing cards

Great inventions playing cards

Great inventions playing cards designed by Gary Wyatt, United Kingdom, 2011.

1980 Christmas 1980 playing cards

Christmas 1980 playing cards

Festive courts on a Waddingtons pack designed to celebrate Christmas 1980.

Gone to Pot: Gardener’s playing cards

Gone to Pot: Gardener’s playing cards

‘Gone to Pot’: special playing cards for keen gardeners, United Kingdom.

2023 The Tarot Strikes Back

The Tarot Strikes Back

Roy Huteson Stewart's The Tarot Strikes Back combines Star Wars with Rider-Waite tarot imagery.

Tottering-by-Gently

Tottering-by-Gently

‘Tottering-by-Gently’ playing cards with cartoons by Annie Tempest.

1990 Sally Ferries Euro playing cards

Sally Ferries Euro playing cards

Sally Ferries Euro playing cards and phrase pack, United Kingdom.

Don’t come back

Don’t come back

“Don’t come back” playing cards produced by Hounslow NHS Primary Care Trust and Feltham Young Offend...

1998 From Empire to Commonwealth

From Empire to Commonwealth

Flags, locations and admission dates of 52 Commonwealth countries.

2023 House of Tudor

House of Tudor

Randy Butterfield's House of Tudor playing cards feature detailed art in a high-quality collectible ...

75: Early American cards

75: Early American cards

An overview of some of the early cards made in the United States.

2019 Murphy Varnish pack

Murphy Varnish pack

Reproduction of the 1883 Murphy Varnish transformation pack, USA, 2019

2020 The Pack of Positivity

The Pack of Positivity

Katie Abey’s rainbow-coloured designs using crazy animals to convey motivating phrases.

2004 On-line offsite data backup

On-line offsite data backup

On-line offsite data backup publicity playing cards produced by The Bunker, United Kingdom, c. 2004....

2002 The Famous Dinosaurs Playing Cards

The Famous Dinosaurs Playing Cards

54 different dinosaurs, both large and small, illustrated by Cecilia Fitzsimons.

1980 Commemorative Olympic Playing Cards

Commemorative Olympic Playing Cards

Commemorative Olympic Playing Cards produced by Waddingtons exclusively for Stanley Gibbons Antiquar...

2015 Dorset Dialect Trails

Dorset Dialect Trails

‘Dorset Dialect Trails’ playing cards, United Kingdom, 2015.

2020 Eclipse Comic playing cards (reproduction)

Eclipse Comic playing cards (reproduction)

Eclipse Comic playing cards is a reproduction of the first transformation pack printed in the USA in...

1984 Schwarze Katze (or Gioco del Gatto Nero)

Schwarze Katze (or Gioco del Gatto Nero)

Reproduction of a 40-card transformation pack with designs by “WS”, adapted for the game of Black Ca...

2018 Old West Guns

Old West Guns

Old West Guns playing cards containing information about firearms from the Old West, USA.