A charming set of worked up, or worked upon, playing cards. The pips on the cards are creatively incorporated into whimsical pen and ink caricatures of people -- military officers, dervishes, Eastern potentates in turbans, an Asian gentleman swathed in a robe sitting cross-legged and holding a barbed spear and a feather atop his bald pate. Abounding are tarbushes and fezes, suggesting the artist had some association with Northern Africa and most probably, Algeria. a heart forming the head of an Indian, clubs forming the head shape of an Equestrian woman, and on and on. The pips, in other words, were used as a springboard for the artist's creativity, not a hindrance. One of our favorite incorporations of a pip, and far more subtle than turning them into a hat or a head, is the turning of a heart into a vest under an unbuttoned coat. One card shows a latter day (anachronistic) Jeanne d'Arc from behind, holding a flag, and a soldier to her side. Color is provided by the pips, with one exception in which the artist applied a little watercolor. While doodlers have marked up photos and illustrations in newspapers and magazines from time immemorial, this artist was clearly applying more aforethought to his drawings, and the intent and result transcends the ephemeral, in our view. N.d., early 19th century. The cards are 9 by 6 cm. Among them are two clubs, seven diamonds, 6 hearts and three spades (and one that is somewhat ambiguous). The cards themselves are of French make, and we presume the caricatures are also French. In a box from the nineteenth century, from Sloan & Company, Maiden Lane, New York. The cards are heavily soiled, but this doesn't detract from the unique artwork. One card is partially pasted to the bottom of the box. A few minor chips to the cards. Bookseller Inventory #
Title: [Playing Cards] A Group of 19 Playing Cards ...
Binding: NA. Box.
Book Condition: God
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