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Published February 07, 2024 Updated February 07, 2024

Shakespeare playing cards: Insults

Shakespeare Insults playing cards with portraits by Jan Padover, USA, 2005.

2005 USA Prospero Art Jan Padover Literature Shakespeare Add to Collection

This pack is the second volume of a double set published by Prospero Art of San Francisco in 2005. (For the first volume see Shakespeare playing cards: Quotes, 2004).

Every card presents a witty and cutting Shakespearean insult taken from every play written by the Bard, encased within an elegant and ornate golden border. The aces and court cards additionally feature beautiful watercolour pen and ink portraits by Jan Padover, inspired by Old Masters such as Michelangelo and Rembrandt. The jokers are Trinculo (from The Tempest) and Fool (from King Lear). See the box

‘Shakespeare playing cards: Insults’ published by Prospero Art, USA, 2005 ‘Shakespeare playing cards: Insults’ published by Prospero Art, USA, 2005 ‘Shakespeare playing cards: Insults’ published by Prospero Art, USA, 2005 ‘Shakespeare playing cards: Insults’ published by Prospero Art, USA, 2005

Above: Shakespeare Insults playing cards with watercolour pen and ink portraits by Jan Padover, published by Prospero Art, San Francisco, USA, 2005.

• See the Shakespeare Bridge double boxed set Vol.1 & Vol.2

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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.


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