Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Games We Play

I must confess that I do not play card games. Also, I am both a distracted and a distracting gambler. When sitting with my ever-so-brilliant with cards as well as life, and blessed-with-Grace-Kelly good looks best friend at a casino in Incline Village at Tahoe, I quickly dismissed her further explanations of Black Jack and said something like, "Adds up to 21. Got it. No problem." and quit to people-watch with Hope when I was $40 in the hole mostly from inattentive math. Further to this, later on in the same trip when I was keeping her seat warm at a table, I became hopelessly enamored of a pair of Jimmy Choo's that strode by and I had to give chase in order to further observe (aka take a cell phone photo), in the middle of a hand. Let's just say they know my name in Tahoe because cluelessness is just as dangerous to a casino as card counters.

Now that you know who I am I feel I do not misrepresent myself in telling you that I adore beautiful playing cards on aesthetic face value alone. I love a table top vignette of playing cards, books, and old cigar boxes. Ah, the trappings of cultured vices.

These British antique avians caught my eye.

I picked a table upon which to play with them.

I thought this antique deck of nasturtiums and gladiolus would be a nice touch for bridge.

They would fit in nicely here.

This girl, she is intriguing. What is that look on her face? Come hither? Buy me a drink? Oh, dear, cards which seem to be thinking provocatively. Now, this is getting complicated.

She might like it here. It is a bit jaunty just like her.

The Tiffany deck, still my hands down favorite.

It would be lovely here.

I love these antique polo cards.

Here is nice place to use them, keeping with the whinny theme. By the way, the painting is my birthday wish. You have two weeks to pull it out for me.

A lovely deck of cards or two requires a lovely piece to guard them. And not some cheesy job with hearts and spades painted on the outside. Dear, no. Something more like this rosewood piece, no?

Trianon Antiques, Boston

Now the bad news: Cards and the games played with them are literally as old and varied as the paper they are printed on. Some are literally ancient. The decks we know today can vary markedly against those made in other eras and from other places. Some have only fifty cards or do not include queens and so on. They are collectibles and in many cases, too precious to play with any longer. Best to always keep the Tiffany double deck handy in the drawer and treat old sets like the above with great care.

All above interiors from House Beautiful.
All above card decks from Collectors Playing Cards, United Kingdom unless otherwise noted.


Mrs. Blandings said...

One of the most winning posts that I have seen in a while. Charmingly original.

Marie said...

For a more contemporary deck, but with great interest, Italian playing cards are great. They can usually be purchased in Italian old fashioned shops. I have framed them in groups of four.

Miss B said...

Loved this post! The french game box is divine!!