New Playing Cards!

Oooh, swishy. I ordered the 5-DVD set on The History of Britain by Simon Schama on sale. I’ve always wanted to see the series and couldn’t pick it up on television, and I think when I tried to get the book it was too expensive or out of print. Schama has a book called Landscape and Memory that I’m eventually going to put in an interlibrary loan for. All things British this week it seems.

An old friend sent me three decks of playing cards when she was over in England on a trip. I was delighted as I didn’t have these decks.

One was a deck by Piatnik with a Shakespeare theme and the artwork of William Blake. Liking both Mr. Shakey’s and Mr. Blake’s work, I had considered buying these several times but never did. There are nine Blake images used in the deck, and I am going to look up his Shakespeare work in my various books on Blake to understand these images and how they fit in Blake’s life. I very much like Blake’s work for Dante’s Divine Comedy (another favourite book of mine) so I am quite interested in gathering the threads together about his interest in Shakespeare.

Then she sent me a lovely scenic deck of towns and sites in North Yorkshire. It is so interesting to see the architecture and features in some of these towns. I’ve already used one of these cards in the daily draws I am doing with The Book of Silk. There is a picture of the York Railway Museum in this deck that I like. It reminds me of an interesting day I spent in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Holywood, Co, Down, Northern Ireland. I also saw a steam show here in Ontario once, so anything historical related to transportation is something I’m keen on. These cards are laid out in landscape style, horizontally, rather than the usual portrait or vertical style.

The third deck is a wonderful deck by the Heritage Playing Card Company. The only other deck I have of theirs is Shakespeare’s Flowers, but they do great decks. This one features scenes of the abbeys and monasteries of England. A few escaped the greed of Henry VIII but most are in ruins, standing like ghostly sentinels around the old towns. Heritage uses a phrase about their decks: “See a world in your hand!” which expresses my devotion to collecting playing cards of every sort.

I have recently been watching a television series called Buildings That Shaped Britain with Simon Thurley. One of the episodes, which I’ve seen twice, was on castles and monasteries–simply fascinating. The whole series is fabulous, and chronologically charts the most significant evolutions in British architecture. I love architecture, so this deck was perfect for me.

I’m putting a few scans here to show these decks. I love to look things up so expect to have a great time reading about various towns and their history. This sort of deck is fab-o to use in daily draws or the Random Passages with books that I like to do. It might be interesting to combine poets with several cards and explore the literature of a certain area as well.

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