Historic playing cards: English pattern




The completed Xylographed and stenciled English pack

the cards
These are hand made court cards for English pattern (now called Anglo-American), intended to date around 1600-1650. The English adapted French-style playing cards, copying a pattern that first appears in Rouen in the 1500s.


Queen of hearts Xylograph block

about my pack
I had knee surgery, and was unable to take a step for six weeks.
Frustrating for a derby girl.
To keep busy, I read up on an old hobby that didn’t need a lot of mobility: playing cards. The ones most of us see today are descended from this style, so I was compelled to study it’s roots. 20130524_152705-1 As a design, it has marvelous tenacity; it has had few modifications in hundreds of years. Some of its court cards can be traced back to the late fifteenth century, and alter due to industrial improvements most, followed by playability upgrades, such as indexes, turned courts and double heads.
There is also the taxation element, which can be easily spotted when the skills of the craftsmen appears to decline. Early in the XVIIc. King James of England made the tax ace law, which resulted in a stamp verifying that the manufacturer had paid this vice pricey tax. Other Countries taxed their cards as well, with the French establishing nine standardized patterns in 1701.







Not knowing what materials were used at the time (pear wood; something I would not have been able to work with while recovering), I used a modern carving medium, and produced these xylographic prints.

Late 16th century style playing cards

These drafts are hand painted

A favorite source of mine for this style of playing cards is here  plainbacks.com

For the other packs seen here, visit these fine folks http://historicgames.com

These are xvi century stencils http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b105249655.r=carte%20a%20jouer


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