Pope Joan Game Trays
with gilt and painted panels
Pope Joan is a card game for three or more players in which the object is to win as many counters as possible by playing certain cards. The game was first recorded in Britain in 1732. It was popular in the 19th century and is mentioned in 'Pickwick Papers'. Some traditional Pope Joan boards comprise a circular tray, others are square, divided into sections labelled Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Intrigue and Matrimony. In the game, the Nine of Diamonds is Pope Joan.
The full-length playing card images in the trays are consistent with woodblock and stencil playing cards produced in England around c.1790-1820. The red and gold in the frames really brightens up the playing card images in this set.