Justly celebrated set of transformation playing cards designed by the famous 19th century British novelist, William Makepeace Thackeray, author of "Vanity Fair" among many famous works. Thackeray was also a favorite caricaturist for Punch and other British publications, and 13 years after his death, his daughter published a book entitled, "The Orphan of Pimlico" as a tribute to Thackeray's artistic abilities, which included these transformation cards.
In Orphan there were a total of 21 playing cards in 5 groups appearing on 5 pages of the book. Thackeray's daughter supplied comments about the cards, and those comments appear on on the opposite facing pages. Each of the 5 groups had a title: (i) "Playing-Cards"; (ii) "Clubs and Croziers"; (iii) "Shakespeare, Byron, Miss Smith, etc."; (iv) "List, List, O List!"; and (v) "La Raison du Plus Fort"
For sale here is a complete set of the 21 playing cards, together with all of the accompanying comments pages and title pages. The pictures show the 5 pages that contain the cards themselves. Pictures of the other pages are available, and this listing is for all pages from the book relating to these cards.
The pages are in excellent condition. As with many books in the late 19th century, Orphan was bound using gutta percha, and the bindings have deteriorated over time to the point that it is typical to find copies of these books that have been re-bound. The pages of this listing come from a copy of the book that had been rebound, but whose re-bound covers had themselves gone missing. To preserve the pages containing the cards, they were separated from the balance of the text.
There is a copy of the entire book – one that includes a superb set of the card pages – also for sale in this shop (T00002093).
For a further description of the Thackeray Transformation Cards, see: Field, Transformation Playing Cards (1987), pp. 109-111; Hargrave, A History of Playing Cards (Dover edition, 2000) pp. 218-219; and, Dawson, "William Makepeace Thackeray -- His Transformation Cards" in Clear the Decks, the journal of the 52 Plus Joker Society, Vol. 15, Issue 2.
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