The World of Playing Cards Logo
Published April 03, 2013 Updated August 28, 2022

La Traviata

“La Traviata” playing cards designed by Erté, c.1985.

1985 Russia United Kingdom Erté Art & Design Luxury Music Add to Collection

“La Traviata” by Erté, c.1985

This outstanding and elaborate deck designed by Erté (Romain de Tirtoff), the Russian-born Art Deco designer, was commissioned by Dunhill of London based on the theme of “La Traviata”. The court cards with French indices are reversible. That is to say that when turned end for end, a different picture is seen. Sometimes the difference is very obvious, other times it is more subtle. Erté’s real name was Romain De Tirtoff and he lived from 1892 to 1990. A major turning point in his career came in 1965, when he met Eric and Salome Estorick, the founders of Seven Arts Ltd of New York and London. Seven Arts produced this pack, and remained the exclusive agent for Erte's work until his death.

Above: “La Traviata” playing cards designed by Erté, manufactured by Carta Mundi, c.1985. The title card gives a copyright notice by Seven Arts, London. There is a pamphlet that opens up to 14 pages describing not only every card in the deck but also that the suits cover various Acts and Scenes from the opera. The pamphlet also explains that “When the 54 cards (four suits and two Jokers) are arranged numerically and by suit, highlights from the opera unfold chronologically”. Double set in elaborate luxury box with gold decorations, 2x52+2J, gold-edged, leaflet. Images courtesy Rod Starling.


NOTE: I have always had doubts about the attribution of this pack to Carta Mundi. A.S.S. offered me some overruns without gilt edges at a time when they had no links with Carta Mundi so I always assumed that A.S.S. had printed the cards. Unfortunately, I have no further documentary proof - Roddy Somerville.

avatar
94 Articles

By Rod Starling (1936-2023)

Member since January 09, 2013

Rod Starling was one of the founding members of the 52 Plus Joker card collectors club. He authored many articles for the club's quarterly newsletter, Clear the Decks. His collection encompasses both foreign and American decks. Rod also authored a book titled The Art and Pleasures of Playing Cards.


Related Articles

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

A limited edition art print of the 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 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.

1875 Hand-drawn transformation cards, c1875

Hand-drawn transformation cards, c1875

A complete set of hand-drawn transformation cards from c1875, using a standard De La Rue pack.

Classification of Numeral Card Designs in French-suited packs

Classification of Numeral Card Designs in French-suited packs

The classification of numeral cards in French-suited packs, covering various pip designs in over 400...

The Douce Collection

The Douce Collection

The Douce Collection of playing cards in the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford.

The Henry Hart Puzzle

The Henry Hart Puzzle

Explore the intricate history and unique design variations of Henry Hart's playing cards, tracing th...

1984 Opernkarte I

Opernkarte I

Humorous designs by Peter Becker on the theme of the Opera.

Playing Card Research Archives maintained by The Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards

Playing Card Research Archives maintained by The Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards

The Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards maintains an extensive archive of materials from n...

1983 The Art of Erté

The Art of Erté

Luxury playing cards displaying artwork by Erté, published in 1983 by Sobranie of London.

2006 The Chamber of 52 Cards

The Chamber of 52 Cards

Playing cards published by Peter Wood as a tribute to the rock band Genesis.

1675 English cards from the reign of Charles II

English cards from the reign of Charles II

This article explores a historic pack of English playing cards from circa 1675, likely used by King ...

Portrait Playing Cards

Portrait Playing Cards

Portrait playing cards, featuring realistic drawings of people on the court cards instead of traditi...

1961 Sweetule Natural History cards

Sweetule Natural History cards

Small cards featuring natural history subjects, given away with packets of sweet cigarettes.

1875 Lend Me Five Shillings

Lend Me Five Shillings

or “Her Majesty’s Privy Purse” - a merry round-the-table game published by D. Ogilvy.

1875 Laughing Made Easy

Laughing Made Easy

a Victorian card game published by D. Ogilvy.

1975 Poker Lusso

Poker Lusso

Richly costumed courts on a luxury poker pack from Masenghini.

1994 Music playing cards

Music playing cards

Portraits of 13 classical music composers.

2002 Classic Card Games for Kids

Classic Card Games for Kids

A boxed set of playing cards, Happy Families and an alphabet pack with rules for 22 games.

1904 So-Lah – A Game of Music

So-Lah – A Game of Music

An early 20th century domino-type musical card game by Goodall.

2008 High School Musical 3: Senior Year

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

American teen film depicting students staging their last spring musical.

2018 Marmite

Marmite

Fifty-Four images celebrating a UK savoury spread, that has been around one hundred and twenty two y...

1877 Word Making and Word Taking

Word Making and Word Taking

How crossword and spelling games became popular.

1984 Le Jeu des Musiciens

Le Jeu des Musiciens

Artist Silvia Maddonni’s gently humorous take on musicians and their instruments.

2021 Film Noir

Film Noir

A deck of 55 cards, celebrating hard boiled heroes, wise-cracking women, mean streets, guns and gums...

2016 Science Fiction

Science Fiction

A deck of 55 cards, celebrating a time when Science Fiction truly was, Science Fiction.

2004 The Beatles playing cards

The Beatles playing cards

Two packs featuring photos of The Beatles issued by the same publisher in 2004 and 2005.

1991 Costume Playing Cards

Costume Playing Cards

Four centuries of costumes from the Costume Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

2020 Commoners playing cards

Commoners playing cards

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

2019 Liber Ludorum

Liber Ludorum

Liber Ludorum playing cards created by Ian Cumpstey in the insular style, United Kingdom, 2019.

2018 Pike and Clover playing cards

Pike and Clover playing cards

Pike and Clover playing cards created by Ian Cumpstey, Cumbria, UK, 2018.

2021 Les Tontons du Rock

Les Tontons du Rock

Caricatures of rock and pop stars in black and white by Charles Da Costa.

2023 Inglewood Hunting Deck

Inglewood Hunting Deck

Inglewood Hunting Deck created by Ian Cumpstey, United Kingdom, 2023.

2010 Pin-Ups

Pin-Ups

A deck of 55 cards celebrating a golden age of cheeky, naughty, bold and curvy ladies in film.

2008 Classic Movie Posters

Classic Movie Posters

A deck of 55 cards presenting vintage classic movies and their stars.

2014 That’s Entertainment

That’s Entertainment

A deck of 55 cards celebrating 20th Century vaudeville, musicals and cabaret.

1981 British Monarchs

British Monarchs

Commemorating the royal wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer on the 29th

2005 Rock & Pop Legends

Rock & Pop Legends

Stunning photos of a selection of US and UK music artists.

2004 The Beatles • Yellow Submarine

The Beatles • Yellow Submarine

A colourful deck celebrating the 1968 animated feature film based on the Lennon/McCartney song of th...

1985 Paco Lobo

Paco Lobo

Highly original and striking designs by Paco Lobo for the fashion house of the same name.

1970 Loewe: Moda Europea Siglo XVII

Loewe: Moda Europea Siglo XVII

Luxury pack for the Spanish fashion house Loewe, with 17th century costume designs by Margot Hamilto...

1999 Dutch Court playing cards

Dutch Court playing cards

Games & Print Services’ version of the Dutch pattern.

2013 Past Masters’ Association Presentation Pack

Past Masters’ Association Presentation Pack

The Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards Past Masters’ Association Presentation Pack, 2013....