wen Jones (1809-1874), the son of a Welsh antiquary, was an architect and interior designer. He studied with the architect Lewis Vulliamy (1791-1871) and then entered the Royal Academy schools. After a European tour which led him to sketch and paint the Alhambra, the Moorish palace at Granada, his attempts to get these lithographed led him to set up a printing establishment. Apart from the Plans, Elevations, Sections and Details of the Alhambra (1836), which was the first English chromo-lithographed work, Jones is best known for his Grammar of Ornament (1856) which came to be regarded as a masterpiece, but he specialised as a colour printer in the illuminated gift book beloved by the Victorians.
Owen Jones started working for Thomas De La Rue in 1844, who was at that time keen to have the best artists working for him. In the ensuing twenty years Jones created 173 different playing card designs varying from fruit-and-flower themes to Chinese and Arabesque. Owen Jones played a prominent part in the lives of three generations of De La Rues - Thomas, assisting Warren and William Frederick, and finally Warren's son, the eccentric Warren William, who was sent to him to learn lithography. Owen Jones was appointed superintendent of works for the 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition and took an active part in decorating and arranging the building. Louis Cohen, who founded New York playing card maker Lawrence & Cohen, also shared the services of Owen Jones, whose name appeared on their ace of spades in c.1865.
Owen Jones was a member of the circle of people around Henry Cole who was aiming at higher standards in the Art Manufactures and whose ideas later influenced William Morris. In later life he decorated private houses including the Palace of the Viceroy of Egypt. He exhibited architectural designs at the Royal Academy between 1831 and 1861, and he also designed wallpaper, textiles and carpets. He died in 1874 aged 65 at his home in Argyll Place, Regent Street, London.
Member since February 01, 1996View Articles
Curator 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.
Playing cards in Russian life - Karty v zhizni Rossii - published by Aleksandr Lutkovskii in 2004.
Nursery rhyme playing cards by Waddingtons, Leeds, UK, 1975.
South Park characters and famous one-liners, by Carta Mundi for Hasbro Int. Inc., 2001.
A five-suited set of playing cards published by Fleet and Case Games Ltd., Rainham, Kent, UK, c.1980.
52 selected views of Scotland by De La Rue (Waddingtons) for GlenAlan Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland, c.1960s.
Publicity items for a group of entertainers, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK, 1911.
Cards made by John Waddington Ltd. for the Madras Club, Chennai (formerly Madras), India, c.1930.
54 different personalities from the city of Inverness published by the Highland Hospice.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme covers from 1956 to 2016 published by Winning Moves UK Ltd.
Images from the Ministry of Defence Cape Wrath Training Centre, Sutherland, Scotland. Published 2010.
Celebrating the work of Andreas Vesalius in the quincentenary year of his birth.
Rock paintings and engravings of the San people, better known as the “Bushmen”.
Great Britains’s Olympic gold medallists from 1964 to 2004 published by the British Olympic Association.
Celebration of the work of David Kindersley, stone letter-carver and typeface designer. Published by the Cardozo Kindersley Workshop, Cambridge, UK, 2015.
Pack celebrating the rugby world champions of 2003. Produced by MMcardz.
Pack designed by Jean David (1908-93) for El Al Airlines. The courts are named after Biblical characters.
“Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne” cover historical events, both honourable and treacherous, during the period 1702 to 1704.
Hall & Son
Comic Fortune-Telling Cards published by Reynolds & Sons, c.1850.
Comic Question & Answer cards by Josh. Reynolds & Sons, circa 1850.
This deck is named after Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu (1585-1642), a French Roman Catholic Clergyman and statesman, Chief Adviser to King Louis XIII, noted for the authoritarian measures he employed to maintain power.
Schweizer Trachten No.174 (Costumes Suisses) by Dondorf.
Myriorama of Italian scenery, 1824.
Hand-drawn Transformation cards, c.1870.
Playing Cards: A Secret History
Sergeant-Major card game devised by W.G.Smith
We are deeply saddened by news of the passing of Anthony Rex Pitts (1940-2021).
The Story of Pepys Games by Rex Pitts
Jacob Wolfe Spear founded his company manufacturing fancy goods in 1879 near Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany
Chad Valley Co. Ltd (incorporating Johnson Brothers (Harborne) Ltd, the long-established UK brand bought by Woolworths in 1988 and now sold at Argos.
Multum in Parvo published a range of indoor games during the period from 1884-1927.
The founder of Ariel Productions, Philip Marx, was a prolific publisher of children’s books and comics towards the end of and just after the Second World War.
Kum-Bak Sports, Toys & Games MFG Co., Ltd, London S.E.11
Crazy People children’s card game illustrated by caricaturist and graphic artist Walter Trier, c.1950.
Panko (Votes for Women) suffragette card game published by Peter Gurney Ltd, c.1912.
Anonymous Snap game, 1930s.
Panto People published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
Hats-Off! miniature card game published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
Zoo-Boots published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
The XIXth Century published by John Jaques & Son, c.1875.