A set of playing cards drawn by an unidentified artist, showing caricatured figures; each vignette incorporates the formation of hearts or diamonds into the scene. Some of the cards are numbered or annotated on the backs while others show drafts of other sketches. The set contains only the red suits and with cards numbered from one to ten in each, although some numbers are missing and there are multiples of other numbers. Illustrations are also duplicated while others appear not to have been finished. There are no cards with clubs and spades. A number of the cards center on Shakespearean themes, social history and street scenes (such as courtroom drama, musicians performing, a man in the stocks and, in a few, card playing itself). Some of the scenes depicted on these cards show the more ribald, drawing from Macbeth’s Weird Sisters, Twelfth Night, King John, and The Merry Wives of Windsor; several are annotated on the reverse with lines from the plays. Falstaff is featured on several cards. Many of the cards reflect the mores of the period and the contrast between ruling passions and rules of conduct. In one, two men cast judgment upon a pregnant woman. It is annotated on the reverse with a dialogue between a Constable and a Judge. In “Village School” a schoolteacher manages to simultaneously hold a book and pinch a child’s ear (nine of hearts). Other subjects include a game of chess (five of diamonds); drinking and smoking in a pub (seven of diamonds); and “Bunbury’s Country Club” in which the artist has kept elements from the print (published circa 1788) for the six of diamonds. On one card the artist depicts a game of whist (annotated on the reverse “Can you one?”) for the ten of diamonds.
- Title: [Georgian playing cards] [art original].
- Production: [England], ca. 1800-1820.
Drawings Un58 G
Acquired February 2020