There is something exceedingly mystical about a pack of playing cards. The notion of kings and queens, jokers and knaves, aces and hearts, spades and diamonds, even the language of cards is exotic and enticing, hinting at the medieval world of courtly love and ancient fairytales. Somehow all of life is here in symbolic form – love, hate, riches, death. Playing cards first appeared as early as the 9th century in Imperial China and in Europe in the 14th century. I was recently lucky enough to find a complete set of French 19th century playing cards. The graphics and colours are stunning, each card a miniature work of art and although the deck is a little grubby and well-handled they are fascinating objects which speak volumes about man’s eternal struggle with life, chance and destiny…………….