A set of transformation playing cards

hand drawn playing cards

A presumably incomplete set of ten transformation playing cards, drawn by Thomas Dyer, with caricatured figures of his family as stated in a 1852 note by William Hylton Dyer Longstaffe mounted to the side of the 3 of hearts. Each figure is drawn to incorporate the shape of a heart, diamond, or spade and then tipped onto brown card. Some of the cards were copied or adapted from the Nixon-Fuller set which was published circa 1811; one, for example, shows two men seated across a table with a candle jug and pipe resting upon it, which according to Longstaffe’s note features a self-portrait by Thomas Dyer (smoking) and a portrait of his father William Charles Dyer (either snoozing or contemplating). Other cards represent a range of subjects: a courtroom drama, guardsmen, two seated women (one of whom is reading to the other), a man with a goatee beard, a clergyman holding a baby and a couple standing on either side of him, and a scene with two people playing cards. Other Longstaffe’s notes provide the provenance and custodial history of the cards; “I beg your acceptance of the enclosed. The drawings on the cards are by the late Thomas Dyer caricaturing his family. Charles Dyer to me, 27 Dec. 1852.” Another note reads: “‘I beg your acceptance of the enclosed cards, which I only found this morning. They belong to the former ones I sent. Thomas Dyer gave them to his Aunt Elizabeth, from thence they descended to my aunt Emma.’ Charles H. Dyer to me, 5 Mr. 1853.”
The set also includes a full-length portrait of a Georgian gentleman, drawn on an oval piece of paper that has been mounted to a rectangular card mount with gold paper.

  • Artist: Dyer, Thomas, approximately 1783-1852, artist.
  • Title: [A set of transformation playing cards] [art original].
  • Production: [England], [between 1815 and 1820?]

Catalog Record

Drawings D996 no.1

Acquired October 2021

Revd. Mr. Cotes of Ealing

description below

Three half-length sketches of men in two rows, two on the top row are shown bust-length facing left, while the one below is shown half-length playing a bassoon. Only the portrait on the top right is identified by the artist

 

  • Artist: Nixon, John, -1818, artist.
  • Title: Revd. Mr. Cotes of Ealing [art original].
  • Production: [England], [not after 1818]

Catalog RecordĀ 

Drawings N736 no. 10

Acquired January 2020