Hand-made playing cards by French prisoners of war in Porchester Castle, Hampshire, c.1796.
This deck of cards was hand made by French prisoners of war in Porchester Castle, Hampshire, UK. Prisoners were held in the castle over three periods: 1644 to 1652, 1756 to 1760 and 1793 to 1817. I believe these cards are from the early part of the latter period, circa 1796, as the forged ace of spades is the Hall ace for the years 1789 to 1801.
52 cards complete, with original hand-made box in lovely condition, hand-drawn and painted, really well done for a hand-made pack. I can’t discover if the court figures are based on any particular people but it was suggested that the Queens might be Goddesses: Diana as Q of clubs and Flora as Q of diamonds?
The forged ace is just fantastic, if only for its faults. It matches genuine aces for the years 1789 to 1801 The deck is given added provenance by the little business card with a hand-written inscription that came with the box when I found it. Dated 1947 it refers back to the writer’s named great-great grandfather who was actually a keeper at the gaol at the time. I do know of one other deck similar to this, the style suggesting it was perhaps painted by the same hand, but there is no box and I have heard some cards are missing, regardless I believe this deck to be unique.
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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.
52 selected views of Scotland by De La Rue (Waddingtons) for GlenAlan Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland, c.1960s.
Table tennis players in action published by La Ducale, an imprint of Grimaud, France, 1979.
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.
Tarot game pack with fantasy sci-fi artwork on the trumps published by Pocket SF, France.
Pack of cards celebrating Allied Victory in the Second World War.
Celebrating the work of Andreas Vesalius in the quincentenary year of his birth.
Jeu de 54 cartes, completely anonymous, designed to resemble locally produced French packs.
An extraordinary Spanish pack of chocolate advertising playing cards dating from 1920
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.
Another pack of Dutch costume playing cards c.1880.
Luxurious Spanish-suited pack made by Alphonse Arnoult, Paris, France, c.1850.
Rules and regulations that guided prison life in America’s most notorious prison.
Pack celebrating the rugby world champions of 2003. Produced by MMcardz.
Original designs from the French overseas department of Martinique by local artist Martine Porry.
Standard French designs adapted for children. Made by France Cartes for La Grande Récré, c.2016.
Pack promoting Beaujolais wine published by Editions du Nuton, France.
Complete re-design of traditional pack into what the publishers considered to be ergonomically efficient.
Dutch costume playing cards made for the Dutch market in the second half of the 19th century.
“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.
In standard English packs the Ace of Spades is associated with decorative designs. This is a historical survey of why this should be.
Myriorama of Italian scenery, 1824.
Dubois card makers from Liège in the Walloon Region of Belgium.
Hand-drawn Transformation cards, c.1870.
PLAYING CARDS: A Secret History
This deck was inherited from ancestors, it has has a family history surrounding it. Details of the lives of previous owners make it all so fascinating.
My late mother found these miniature cards in a skip around 50 years ago.
Sergeant-Major card game devised by W.G.Smith
We are deeply saddened by news of the passing of Anthony Rex Pitts (1940-2021).
Video by Art of Impossible. In this video you will get a short overview of the most important historical facts about playing cards and their history.
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.