Natural World Playing Cards - Rachel Hunt

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London View Inspiration Details

Artist Statement

Rachel Hunt

Throughout the Museum of Childhood various card games are displayed, from ‘Snap’ to ‘Happy Families’ . These all stem from the standard pack of playing cards which use the Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs and Spades. The playing card has been developed over centuries and continents into a game played by adults and children alike. Playing with them presents so many possibilities, from use as an educational aid to great family entertainment. A pack of cards is small and portable; you can build with them (and knock them down), create your own games or play a family favourite- Everyone has a favourite card game.

I have been inspired to design my own version of the traditional playing card, using the ‘French’ suits as inspiration but giving them a modern twist. The cards are inspired by the natural world, specifically four different environments and the diverse creatures who live there - the forest, the jungle, the polar regions and the ocean. The traditional suit symbols have been incorporated into the images as a reference to the history of the game.

Like the original suits, a limited colour palette has been used, with the colours constant through each suit. I have designed the King cards for each suit to show the Stag, Tiger, King Penguin and the Blue Whale- the ‘kings’ of their individual territories.

The choice to use a digital technique to design the cards is influenced by the clean lines of the original designs, which, although designed many years before the computer existed, are a iconic image which uses sharp lines and contrasts.

This piece of work was created as part of my course in illustration, which, in addition to helping me to generate ideas has given me the opportunity to get feedback on my work and learn new techniques.

Natural World Playing Cards - Rachel Hunt

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Inspiration details:

The Good Child's Cabinet of Natural History

Card game

London, England (published)

04/01/1813 (published)

Wallis, John (publisher)

Hand-coloured etchings on card

V&A collection reference number(s):
E.1807&:1 to 32-1954,

2015 Exhibition Guide

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