The latest articles from Barney Townshend
The court cards feature double-ended light-bulb people (the Kings are repeated in each suit) and the numeral cards have vignettes at each end illustrating how Osram light bulbs lighten the darkness.
Having deconstructed traditional, bourgeois playing card symbolism they produced new, liberated designs expressing their own beliefs and values. The court cards were persons expressing new, revolutionary ideals.
Another of Dondorf's masterpieces of chromolithography, the detailed artwork on these cards has multiple tints and highlights giving the figures a brilliant, glossy character.
The Carnival Playing Card deck designed by Harry D. Wallace (1892-1977) and first published in 1925.
Van Genechten was one of the most competent cardmakers in Turnhout and they produced almost every kind of foreign pack for clients all around the world.
The originality of Leonor Fini's work is evident in these playing card designs. The imagery of her paintings was loosely based on dreams and this led her to be associated with the Surrealists...
Although not historically accurate this example is subtitled “Stuart period”, with rich costumes creating associations with an imaginary period sometime before the French Revolution.
This pattern was published between 1889-1933, at first with no Joker, which was added in 1906 along with small indices in German or English.
Based on the standard French ‘Paris’ pattern, Dalí composed his playing card figures out of geometric shapes, like a surrealist tapestry, but retaining the traditional aspects of playing card design.
Boulanger's paintings and graphic art works are easily recognized. The Latin American influence is an integral part of her work. The use of light and contrasting colours are reminiscent of her years spent in La Paz, memories of her native country.
Stylish modern designs by the painter, decorator and ceramist Geneviève Lirola, featuring unity of colours in each suit.
One of a series of sumptuous Venice Simplon-Orient-Express playing cards produced by B.P. Grimaud for the VSOE gift collection. The 3/4 length court cards depict people in Oriental costumes.
Philibert "Les Mousquetaires" Playing Cards, designed by Albert Dubout (1905-1976).
Dondorf's “L'Hombre No.60” was manufactured for the Danish firm Adolph Wulff of Copenhagen between c.1910-1930.
The English Playing Card Society's 10th Anniversary Transformation Playing Cards designed and produced by Karl Gerich, 1993.
Karl Korab was born in 1937 in Falkenstein (Lower Austria), the son of a forester. As a child he experienced the horrors of World War II, which influence his artwork today.
Olle Hjortzberg (1872-1959) designed these playing cards for Granbergs AB in c.1924 in ‘Art Nouveau’ style.
C. L. Wüst Oval Patience Karten No. 240, beautifully printed by chromolithography, c.1910.
Artistic playing cards with abstract designs by Renée Sturbelle, first published by Brepols S.A., Turnhout, 1947.
Philips 'Arlita' advertising playing cards manufactured by Etabl. Mesmaekers Frères S.A., Turnhout, Belgium, 1925.
Einar Nerman (1888–1983) was a talented Swedish artist born in Norrköping who designed playing cards during the 1920s.
Éditions Philibert published playing cards in Paris from 1954 to 1960 including Le Florentin in Renaissance style.
Dondorf's ‘Einköpfige Deutsche Spielkarte No.303’ (‘Single-ended German Playing Cards’) were produced during the period 1900-1930.
These designs imitating late medieval costumes were published by B. Dondorf in Germany in various editions between 1889-1933 as Mittelalter No.150, 151 and 135.
‘Aquae Sulis’ is Georgina Harvey's second design, in which the double-ended courts are reminiscent of classical gods & goddesses.
These unusual and striking playing cards were published sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s by the iconic Australian brand of matches, Bryant & May. Whilst the same court card images are used in each suit, the numeral cards employ matches arranged geometrically instead of the normal pips.
In around 1909 he created three sets of playing cards. His inventiveness was driven by a passion for rules, order and numbers.
Henri Meunier was a Belgian Art Nouveau lithographer, etcher, illustrator, bookbinder and poster designer of the Belle Époque. His first introduction to art was in his father's workshop; then he completed his art studies at the Academy d'Ixelles.
Intended to attract donations on behalf of the Imperial Royal Austrian Military Widows’ and Orphans’ Fund, this elegant and refined deck was designed by Nellie Stern. The deck was printed by Ferdinand Piatnik & Söhne, Vienna in 1916.
Karl enjoyed experimenting with design and production and this work was published in 1994 as a 32-card pack with one joker. The double-ended courts are, by Gerich's standards, plain with simple costume designs based on the designs of Arturs Duburs.
Bernhard Altmann is from the “The House of Cashmere” and these playing cards honour their best known commodity: the fleece of the graceful horned Cashmere goat.
Karl Gerich's ‘Deutche Karten’ playing cards No.9, printed from copperplate etchings.
The first entry in the catalogue, dating from c.1982, shows full-length figures with their symbols of office (mace, orb, halberd, sword, flower, etc.) after the early English style.
Views of Bath is Georgina Harvey's third design, created in 1990. The cards feature beautifully designed double-ended courts and double-ended Aces with a central band which is used to identify different views of the City of Bath at each end.
As far as is known, ‘Rouennais’ has only ever been produced as a sheet of etched court cards and aces. The designs are based on the early playing cards produced in Rouen (France) which became the antecedents of the standard English pattern.
“Cartes Comiques”, published by B. Dondorf, printed by chromolithography, c.1870-1888.
The designs are a meld between the standard international pattern and German-style French-suited cards. Elements from various other standard patterns can be detected.
The court cards in this well designed double-ended pack are realistically dressed in 16th century costumes with German suit symbols. The Kings and high ranking personnel are strict and austere.
The Valets in this deck appear in costumes of the Biedermeier period, portraying sentimental and pious poses in keeping with the iconography of traditional German playing card patterns.
There have been many variations in the design of “Club Karte” including the introduction of borders, corner indices and rounded corners, and variations in the inscriptions on the Aces over the years.
Mémoires de Casanova artistic and lightly risqué playing cards with paintings by Paul-Émile Bécat, published by Éditions Philibert, Paris, c.1960.
Karl's ‘Ganesh’ pack has the four Aces with the suit sign in a circle decorated with flowers and double-ended courts in Indian dress.
Inspired by Piatnik's ‘Trappola’ of c.1890, with double-ended courts, a Jester and decorated Aces, the cards are delicately etched and hand coloured so that versions exist with alternative colour schemes.
Derived from “Cartes Turques” first made by Glanz, then later by van Genechten, Brepols & Piatnik. 3 double-ended dragon Aces and one Adam/Eve Ace with a coiled serpent.
Karl Gerich's “Patience Indien No.16”, published in 1991, is adapted from Grimaud's “Whist Indienne” (c.1900). The double-ended courts are dressed in Arab garb.
After the Second World War, the deck continued to be produced both by the VEB Altenburger Spielkartenfabrik as “Rokoko” and by ASS-Spielkartenfabrik, Leinfelden-Echterdingen as “Baronesse”.