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Fantastically graphic set of antique transformation playing cards, made by Tiffany & Company ca 1879. Designed by Charles E. Carryl, this is a complete set of 52/52 cards, with some of the most interesting illustrations of any deck of this period. Artists who illustrated transformation decks used the club, spade, heart and diamond formations to extract and accentuate similar shapes from both living and inanimate objects, often in a humorous fashion. This one is full of curious, funny, and sometimes racy scenes. Spade-headed fireman rush across the face of one card, while a man with a spade-shaped head hunts for snipe. Soldiers and ice skaters wear heart-shaped pantaloons. Irishmen dance at a wake in club-shaped top coats, while black Southern men, with club-shaped upper bodies, dance a Mississippi jig in blue denim coveralls. Middle-easterners in square-shaped turbans smoke a hookah pipe, while soldiers wear square hats and packs, all turned 45 degrees to make diamonds. There are witches and nomads, fat chefs, butlers and socialites. The face cards in this deck are especially colorful and interesting. Each royal couple is joined by a theme. Note the King of Hearts eating jam from a jar while his queen holds a plate of tarts. Their jack winks, smoking a cigar, with a huge silver coin under one arm. The King of Spades sports an eye patch, a sling, a bandaged foot, and a cane, while his queen, with a bandaged thumb, holds two bottles of medicine and a twisted, ill expression. Their jack, wearing shades, holds a long pipe and trombone. The King of Clubs holds his boots in one hand, with a key in the other and a thermometer between his lips, evidently returning home drunk from a party, while his queen holds a bootjack with an angered expression. Their jack smokes a short pipe while holding a small dog, wearing clothes emblazoned with the British Union flag (a.k.a., Union Jack). The King of Diamonds strums a banjo with tinted glasses, while his queen looks upon with pairs of drumsticks or cigars. Their jack holds a rooster under one arm and a proclamation. Mounting: The cards have been mounted by way of mylar corners to a background of 100% cotton, black in color. The black fabric has been washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. The mount was placed in a modern, black-painted molding of significant quality. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.
Inventory Number:


Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
Contact   Jeff Bridgman Phone: (717) 502-1281
Period: 19th Century (1801-1900)
Date: 1879
Condition: See Item Description
Measurements: Frame: 39" x 40.5"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
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