The World of Playing Cards Logo
Published April 09, 2023 Updated May 10, 2024

Scarfes Bar playing cards

‘Scarfes Bar’ satirical playing cards with cartoons by Gerald Scarfe, United Kingdom.

United Kingdom Gerald Scarfe Art Gallery Cartoon Royalty Satire Add to Collection

Renowned British artist and satirical cartoonist Gerald Scarfe (b. 1936) has lent his name and artistic vision to Scarfe’s Bar, where his own collection of amusing paintings and cartoons adorn the walls. He describes the Bar as his “personal art gallery, where you can see my life on these walls”. Scarfes Bar features a roaring fire, a collection of cosy velvet armchairs and shelves filled with over 1,000 antique books. A creative menu of cocktails and complimentary live music six nights a week add to the conviviality.

‘Scarfes Bar’ satirical playing cards with cartoons by Gerald Scarfe, United Kingdom

This undated pack, specially created by Rosewood London has 4 corner indices, and consists of 52 cards on each of which is a satirical, often cruel, depiction of a well-known individual from different walks of life -- British and European politicians, royalty, celebrities, musicians, actors and other prominent individuals. The 3 jokers depict Scarfe himself. See the box

‘Scarfes Bar’ satirical playing cards with cartoons by Gerald Scarfe, United Kingdom ‘Scarfes Bar’ satirical playing cards with cartoons by Gerald Scarfe, United Kingdom ‘Scarfes Bar’ satirical playing cards with cartoons by Gerald Scarfe, United Kingdom

Above: ‘Scarfes Bar’ satirical playing cards with cartoons by Gerald Scarfe, United Kingdom.

NOTE: This review first appeared (with fewer illustrations) in the EPCS Newsletter, n. 129, August 2020, p. 30.

avatar
503 Articles

By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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 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 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 Joker

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

A limited edition art print of the 1984 woodblock joker.

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.

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.

1980 Club Soft Drinks

Club Soft Drinks

Promotional pack for Club soft drinks with amusing illustrations of different kinds of ‘club’.

1984 Mit Rhino auftrumpfen

Mit Rhino auftrumpfen

Black rhinos on a publicity pack for Armstrong, a flooring company, with comic designs by Pit Flick....

1904 So-Lah – A Game of Music

So-Lah – A Game of Music

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

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.

1995 Guanlangaoshou / Slam Dunk playing cards

Guanlangaoshou / Slam Dunk playing cards

Basketball-themed manga animated playing cards from Japan.

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.

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...

1994 Baraja de Alava

Baraja de Alava

55 different paintings by Emilio Lope depicting the history and culture of Vitoria and the province ...

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....

The Search for New Games in the late 19<sup>th</sup> century

The Search for New Games in the late 19th century

A few new games survived and are still around today; most came and went and are only witnessed in th...

2002 Impressionist Art Cards

Impressionist Art Cards

Details of 13 paintings by 8 different Impressionist artists on elongated cards.

1904 Miniature Card Dominoes

Miniature Card Dominoes

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

1978 Wedding of Krechinsky • Свадьба Кречинского

Wedding of Krechinsky • Свадьба Кречинского

A pack of cards depicting characters from the famous play "The Wedding of Krechinsky" by Sukhovo-Kob...

1983 Jeu des Médecins

Jeu des Médecins

Cartoons of doctors and nurses by Pino Zac, published by B.P. Grimaud in 1983.

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.

1976 Le Giscarte

Le Giscarte

Le Giscarte political playing cards designed by Eddy Munerol, France, 1976.

2004 K Deck

K Deck

“K Deck” political playing cards, USA, c. 2004.

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.

1883 Jeu Quatre Empereurs

Jeu Quatre Empereurs

Brazilian scenic aces with emperors of Brazil, Austria and France and other dignitaries on the court...

1870 Kings and Queens of Brazil & Portugal

Kings and Queens of Brazil & Portugal

Historical playing cards by C. L. Wüst depicting monarchs of Brazil and Portugal.

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.