Kings, Queens, Knaves and Aces High

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…………….

 

 

 

 

ALL PHOTOS © JANE MORLEY

14 Comments Add yours

  1. west517 says:

    FANTASTIC!!!!!! I love the vintage reds!! 🐻 ⭐ ⭐

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    1. Cheers west517! 🙂 It is a really beautiful set, I never realised how much fine art there is in playing cards – some beautiful special editions out there and some serious collectors! 🙂

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      1. west517 says:

        They are really beautiful! You’ve given me an idea to look through some old cards I have here 🙂 🙂

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      2. Go look! The design is often really inspiring if they’re vintage, they knew a thing or two way back when ! 🙂

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      3. west517 says:

        They sure did ~ Its so difficult to find even the smallest things like this nowadays …. 🙂

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      4. All to do with ‘craftmanship’ and taking time over things I believe, nowadays everyone just wants to earn a fortune overnight and be famous :/ 😀 o_O

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      5. west517 says:

        Thats VERY true …. Such a shame that most of that attention to detail has been lost in our “need for speed” society … but its sooo nice to meet someone who appreciates it! ❤

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      6. I shall say ‘Ditto’ to that west ! 😀

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      7. west517 says:

        ❤ 🐻 ❤

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  2. Willy Nilly says:

    Jane, your photography and layout enhances an already superb art form. What is so remarkable is the work that went into making a precise print of such rich colors at that time and how they endured.

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    1. You are quite right WillyNilly! I am sure the makers of these treasures saw them as miniature works of art, the imagination, the designs and colours to be found even in the very oldest sets are quite stunning!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Exquisite! I am so envious.

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    1. Thankyou Sarah, they are really very beautiful objects and full of fairytale resonance!

      Liked by 1 person

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