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Published November 16, 2010 Updated April 25, 2022

Deakin’s 1st edition

Deakin & Co., 45 Eastcheap, London EC published a political pack in 1886 with caricatures of political figures relating to the Irish Home Rule movement which was a contentious issue of the day.

1886 United Kingdom Deakin & Co Willis & Co. Political Add to Collection

Deakin’s Political Playing Cards, 1st edition, 1886

Printed by W.H. Willis & Co., London, 1886.

After the Conservatives lost the 1880 election and Disraeli's death the year after, Salisbury (King of Diamonds) emerged as Conservative leader in the House of Lords, with Sir Stafford Northcote leading the party in the Commons. He became Prime Minister in June 1885 when the Liberal leader William Ewart Gladstone resigned, and he held the office until January 1886. When Gladstone (‘Grand Old Man’, King of Hearts) came out in favour of Home Rule for Ireland, Salisbury opposed him and formed an alliance with the breakaway Liberal Unionists and the won the subsequent general election. He remained Prime Minister until Gladstone's Liberals formed a government with the support of the Irish Nationalist Party, despite the Unionists gaining the largest number of votes and seats in the 1892 general election.

Deakin's Political Playing Cards, 1st edition, 1886

Above: cards from the 1st edition of Deakin's Political Playing Cards, printed by W.H. Willis & Co., London, 1886. The packs were printed in three editions by Willis and Co., and the first edition sold 60,000 packs in three months. The slogan “Home Rule for Ireland” was popularised by Isaac Bath and Parnell (King of Clubs), leaders of the Movement. Other political personages can be seen depicted in the remaining court cards.

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By Barney Townshend

Member since October 06, 2015

Retired Airline Pilot, interested in: Transformation Playing Cards, Karl Gerich and Elaine Lewis. Secretary of the EPCS. Treasurer of the IPCS.


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