The latest articles from Barney Townshend
Stylistically, the deck fits easily into the Dondorf “luxury card” group. The deck has been produced for the Danish firm Adolph Wulff of Copenhagen, also for F. Tilgmann in Helsinki, and a Swedish version by Öberg & Son, Stockholm.
Promotional playing cards printed by Dondorf for Saks & Company, New York, late 1920s.
Variations on the standard English pattern are one of Karl's favourite themes. He produced several versions and this is a magnificent example.
The courts are characters from Wagner's opera “The Ring of the Nibelungs”, beautifully etched and hand coloured. Each character is named in a cursive script along each side of the card.
“Victoria Playing Cards” designed by Georgina Harvey and produced by Karl Gerich, Bath (UK), 1988. Printed from copperplate etching; hand-coloured.
Double-ended courts based on standard English pattern but with variant colours; double-ended Joker plus Steve Davis card.
First published in c.1870, children are presented in these miniature Patience cards disguised as Kings, Queens and Jacks. The Kings' crowns are slightly over-sized for their heads and the children are wearing false beards.
Dondorf's Luxus-Spielkarte “Vier-Erdteile” (“Four Continents”) was first published in c.1870 and has been re-published in several editions, variations and formats since then.
The four suits are associated with four countries: Clubs = Germany, Diamonds = UK, Spades = Russia and Hearts = France.
Dondorf's “Microscopique Tarock“ was first published in c.1870. The scenes portrayed at each end of the trump cards are marvels of miniature graphic artwork and printing.
An unpublished design by Karl Gerich showing 12 court cards, a Joker and two additional cards produced from an etching. The number '19' can be seen inside the star on the title card.
Cosi Fan Tutte was published in 1994 and is based on Mozart's opera. The pips (heart-shaped locket, magnet, marriage contract and poison bottle) are key objects in the development of the operatic plot.
Representing Iranian culture and history and intended for a Persian market, these playing cards were designed by V. Romanowski de Boncza, ordered by the Iranian government playing card monopoly at the time and printed by Thomas De la Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1937.
This early Gerich work is an adaptation of the English pattern with continental stylisation. The double-ended designs are slightly different at each end and divided by a gold band.
Karl Gerich was a great admirer of playing cards produced by B. Dondorf and his tenth pack was inspired by Dondorf's “Luxus-Spielkarte Vier-Erdteile” (Four Continents Luxury Playing Cards) designed by Friedrich Karl Hausmann, 1870.
Gedimino Stulpai playing cards made in Lithuania by Spindulys Printing Co., Kaunas, depicting Lithuanian national symbolism.
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.
One of the outstanding and most popular packs made by the Turnhout cardmakers was the Bongoût type. Special scenic Aces could be added to packs according to the client’s preferences.
First published by S & J Fuller, Rathbone Place, London, September 1st 1811. This Nixon-Fuller deck was the first English deck now commonly known as transformation playing cards - the first use of the term "transformation".
During the latter part of the nineteenth century De La Rue produced two special packs of cards for the Continental market. The Aces of Spades are marked "De La Rue & Co. London and Paris".