In 1971, Virginia and Harold Wayland wrote and published a fascinating book describing sketches from the17th century that were made by British artist Francis Barlow for a deck of playing cards. The book was published in a limited edition of 200, and number 90 of that edition is listed for sale in this shop (T00003744).
At or about the same time, the Waylands published a set of cards using the Barlow designs. It was based upon a pack of the Barlow cards issued in 1680, and owned by the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards. The Waylands’ facsimile deck was also published in a limited edition – for the cards, an edition of 275 – and the set for sale here is no. 163 of that edition.
The subject matter of the Barlow sketches, and of the book and playing cards published by the Waylands from those sketches, is the “Meal Tub Plot,” a purported plot by the Pope and his minions to kill the Protestant King Charles II. It is generally agreed today that the alleged plot was a hoax and a fraud, but it was a major scandal in its day, and Barlow’s sketches of playing cards were a result of the hoax.
The Wayland facsimile deck has 52 suited cards, plus a card announcing the set. The cards are printed in black and white, and have square corners and blank backs; they are on unfinished stock. The cards are slightly large and wide, measuring approximately 100mm x 63mm – approximately, because the cards were cut by hand and are not the exact same size. They come in a simple cardboard box with a simple plastic lid that may be original.
The cards are “as new.” The box and plastic lid show some wear, and the lid has remnants of tape on the sides.
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