The World of Playing Cards Logo
Published May 26, 2019 Updated August 28, 2022

The Deck of Cards

The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art, 1979.

1979 United Kingdom Andrew Jones Art Cartamundi Art & Design Collaborative Add to Collection

“The Deck of Cards” collaborative deck commissioned by the JPL Gallery of London, published by Andrew Jones Art, 1979. Not necessarily easy to play with, but according to the Royal Academy of Arts:

“In 1976 the JPL Gallery in London asked fifty four British artists to create their version of a playing card. Each artist was given the task to create a specific card from the pack; plus an artist to create the reverse pattern for the entire deck and an artwork for the pack itself. When collector Andrew Jones saw the show he purchased the entire collection and approached artists with the request to create an actual pack of cards from their artworks. The cards were then then sold in a range of outlets including gallery shops such as the RA. Some of the best known British artists from the 20th century were involved with this project including many RAs.”

See the Extra Card   See the Box

The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art 1979 The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art 1979 The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art 1979 The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art 1979

Above: The Deck of Cards collaborative deck published by Andrew Jones Art, printed by Carta Mundi, 1979.


Addendum - courtesy Roddy Somerville.

There are many different editions of this pack. These can be identified according to the type of box used, the name of the publisher and the colour of some of the text on the title card.

The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art 1979

Above: title cards for 1st edition, tuck box (Andrew Jones, no date) and tuck box (Alan Driscoll) editions (click to zoom).

The first edition consisted of a numbered edition of 10,000 packs – a not inconsiderable print run for a non-standard, ‘unplayable’ set – in a hard box. The bottom line of text on the title card is in red. This was followed by an unnumbered edition in a hard box marked “HWGA”, standing for “Here we go again” (print run was probably 5,000). For the next edition, the hard box was marked “Britain” on the bottom edge. By now, the text on the title card had been changed to white. After this, the hard box was abandoned, replaced by a tuck box but still published by Andrew Jones Art, with a title card where the date “1979” has been removed. Then, in about 1990 or 1991, Andrew Jones sold the distribution rights to Alan Driscoll who continued to market the pack with his own name on the box and on the title card (with the date “1979” included again).

In total, well over 100,000 of these packs have been produced since 1979, surely making it the most successful ‘unplayable’ set ever!

As well as the playing cards, a deck of postcards and a poster were produced, using all of the designs in the pack.

Quite early on, Andrew Jones lent the original artwork to the British Council for a touring exhibition which went all over the world.

avatar
308 Articles

By Matt Probert

Member since March 02, 2012

I have adored playing cards since before I was seven years old, and was brought up on packs of Waddington's No 1. As a child I was fascinated by the pictures of the court cards.

Over the next fifty years I was seduced by the artwork in Piatnik's packs and became a collector of playing cards.

Seeking more information about various unidentified packs I discovered the World of Playing Cards website and became an enthusiastic contributor researching and documenting different packs of cards.

I describe my self as a playing card archaeologist, using detective work to identify and date obscure packs of cards discovered in old houses, flea markets and car boot sales.

1 comments

phil gray's Avatar'

Wow - I have been looking for these cards for many years and only recently have I managed to find some information that lead me here.
Many, many years ago I went to the Tate gallery in London, due to my ever increasing interest in art, and whilst in the gift shop I purchased a poster with these card designs on as I was so intrigued by the concept.
Shortly after I began thinking about doing something similar myself, i.e. make an art pack of cards with a completely different design for each card, I wanted them to be alternately witty, surreal, abstract, and some of course I would borrow from the actual regular card design (especially if I started to run out of ideas !) The other criteria I had was that each design would have be made the same size as an actual playing card.
Many of the cards I had made were never really going to work as a playable deck though, but instead (much in the same way that poster I bought all those years ago at the Tate) I always envisioned it as a poster.
Although I was initially eager and I started well on the project, I eventually came to a halt due to the actual amount work involved in producing so many "mini" artworks and of course the very real task of coming up with a fresh design for each one - I did not want them to appear formulaic, I wanted it to be like a different artist for each card (although they were all my own design of course).
So the years rolled by and the cards that I had finished remained hidden in one of my art portfolio folders.
It was only recently when I was showing my art to my son and his children that he really took a like into both the concept and the art that I had created that he said "Dad, you really need to finish these cards ! they would look great in a frame - I would love that up on my wall in my new apartment !"
So now after 40 + years I have decided to return to the deck of cards and get them finished !
I am so glad to have found this page though as I always wanted to see these designs again, as the poster I bought has long since got lost somewhere along the way with the many house moves one has over the years.


Leave a Reply


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 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 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...

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...

2023 A Million Dollar Tarot: The Alleyman’s Tarot

A Million Dollar Tarot: The Alleyman’s Tarot

The Alleyman’s Tarot successfully raised $1,404,172 on Kickstarter. This unique 133-card deck includ...

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.

1985 Atout Cœur!

Atout Cœur!

Poster designs by children for an anti-smoking campaign in the Midi-Pyrenées region of France.

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 ...

Discover trains of North America

Discover trains of North America

55 different Illustrations of railways and locomotives from the United States.

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.

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.

1980 Club Soft Drinks

Club Soft Drinks

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

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.

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.

1986 Peintres Latino Americains

Peintres Latino Americains

Original artwork by 18 different Latin American artists.

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.

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....