From the Douce Collection at The Bodleian Library

Possibly By Samuel Fulwood c.1700-1710.

These images are reproduced by kind permission of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and may not be copied.


Uncoloured Standard English Cards in The Bodleian Library Oxford

It was very pleasing to see some cards in the Douce collection that are not widely known in the standard playing-card references.

The cards have a papery feel and this, their appearance and the repetition of several of the cards all suggest that they were originally from an uncoloured sheet rather like the ones in the British Museum and attributed to Hewson (see "p7" or for example the Willshire Catalogue footnote 1).  These have at some time in their lives been clipped into individual ‘cards’ with a typical size of 88mm by 58mm.  The examples suggest they came from a block for the red suited courts, as they can be identified as JD (three examples), QD (three), KD (two), JH (two), QH (two) and KH (two).

Several of the cards bear the initials SF which matches only one card-maker known in that era, Samuel Fulwood .  From the appearance a guess at the date would be late C17 to early C18, certainly seeming a little later than the known Hewson cards (around 1685).  Samuel Fulwood seems to have been a fairly successful maker with a number of trade names registered in the era 1687-1710.  It would therefore seem likely that these designs were from woodblocks made for him or by him.  These dates are also consistent with the general appearance of the cards, and all things considered, these designs would appear to be dated in the range c. 1700-1710.

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W H Willshire, A Descriptive Catalogue of Playing and Other Cards in the British Museum, British Museum, 1876.  The sheets have catalogue references E167 and E168.

Michael H Goodall and John G Thorpe, The Master Cardmakers of London and Their Apprentices, Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards, 2005.
John G Thorpe, The Master Cardmakers of London, Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards, 2005.