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RICHARD NICHOLSON of CHESTER

A WORLD OF ANTIQUE MAPS AND PRINTS

James Pepper looking at an atlas

The Cartographer

ROBERT MORDEN

County Map Playing Cards

I am lucky enough to have in my own collection an incomplete pack of Robert Morden playing cards published circa 1676. Yes I am still lucky even if the pack is incomplete as these cards are now quite rare and I did read somewhere that there is only one complete set in existence. This information maybe out of date as things do sometimes unexpectedly turn up. The complete set contains 52 spot cards, an explanation card and a card showing England and Wales divided into counties. My set lacks the card showing England and Wales.

The numbers on the cards are shown as natural numbers and Roman numerals. Some of the natural numbers are hidden by the stencilled suit marks which have been added. In 1680 there was another edition with small changes including the naming of adjoining counties. The cards measure some 94 x 57 mm and are printed on thin but stout card. As mentioned in the explanation the small maps include roads. This was just a year after Ogilby's Britannia was published so for some counties these would be the first county maps to show roads. The early edition showed towns with a circle symbol. This was later changed to a square and to a pictorial symbol. Beneath each map is a panel displaying the Length, Breadth and Circumference of the county along with its Distance from London and its Latitude. My set is uncoloured but specimens with early outline hand colouring do exist.

The King cards each display a circular engraving of Charles II and the Queen cards show his wife Catherine of Braganza. The four Jack or Knave cards bear four different portraits.the Queen cards show his wife Catherine of Braganza. The four Jack or Knave cards bear four different portraits.

The Explanation of these Card

The four Suites are the 4 parts of England, the 13 Northern Counties are Clubs, the Western are Spades, the Eastern are Hearts, and the Southern are Diamonds, in each Card you have a Map of there County, with the chief Towns, and Rivers, a Compassions for the Bearings, and a Scale for Mensuration. there is also given the Length, Bredth, and Circumference of each County. the Latitude of the Chief Citty or Towns, and its Distance from London. First the Reputed and then the Measured Miles by Esqr. Ogilby with his leave we have Incerted. there is also the Road from London to each Citty or Towne, the great Roads are drawn with a double line, the other Roads a single line. as also the chief Hills and other Remarks The use of these Cards are the same with the Common Cards in all respects only using the Numbers in these instead of the spots in the Other

GALLERY

Photographs taken from a set of cards in my collection

  • Explanation from Robert Morden's pack of playing cards

    Explanation from Robert Morden's pack of playing cards

  • Morden Playing Card showing counties of England and Wales

    Morden Playing Card showing counties of England and Wales

  • Morden Playing Card with map of Monmouthshire

    Morden Playing Card with map of Monmouthshire

  • Morden's playing card of Radnorshire, Queen of Spades of Spades 1676

    Morden's playing card of Radnorshire, Queen of Spades of Spades 1676

  • Morden's playing card of Anglesey, Knave of Spades circa 1676

    Morden's playing card of Anglesey, Knave of Spades circa 1676

  • Morden's playing card of Pembrokeshire, c.1676, Ten of Spades

    Morden's playing card of Pembrokeshire, c.1676, Ten of Spades

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Carmarthenshire, Nine of Spades

    Robert Morden's playing card of Carmarthenshire, Nine of Spades

  • Morden Playing Card with map of Glamorganshire

    Morden Playing Card with map of Glamorganshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Breconshire, Seven of Spades, 1676

    Robert Morden's playing card of Breconshire, Seven of Spades, 1676

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Cardiganshire, Six of Spades, 1676

    Robert Morden's playing card of Cardiganshire, Six of Spades, 1676

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Montgomeryshire, Five of Spades, 1676

    Robert Morden's playing card of Montgomeryshire, Five of Spades, 1676

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Merionethshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Merionethshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Denbighshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Denbighshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Caernarvonshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Caernarvonshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Flintshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Flintshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Middlesex

    Robert Morden's playing card of Middlesex

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Huntingdonshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Huntingdonshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Rutlandshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Rutlandshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Surrey

    Robert Morden's playing card of Surrey

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Kent

    Robert Morden's playing card of Kent

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Hertfordshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Hertfordshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Essex

    Robert Morden's playing card of Essex

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Suffolk

    Robert Morden's playing card of Suffolk

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Norfolk

    Robert Morden's playing card of Norfolk

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Cambridgeshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Cambridgeshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Bedfordshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Bedfordshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Buckinghamshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Buckinghamshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Notthamptonshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Notthamptonshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Herefordshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Herefordshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Worcestershire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Worcestershire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Gloucestershire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Gloucestershire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Cornwall

    Robert Morden's playing card of Cornwall

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Devonshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Devonshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Somerset

    Robert Morden's playing card of Somerset

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Dorsetshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Dorsetshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Wiltshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Wiltshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Hampshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Hampshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Sussex

    Robert Morden's playing card of Sussex

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Berkshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Berkshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Oxfordshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Oxfordshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Warwickshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Warwickshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Yorkshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Yorkshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of County Durham

    Robert Morden's playing card of County Durham

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Leicestershire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Leicestershire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Shropshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Shropshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Staffordshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Staffordshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Lincolnshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Lincolnshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Nottinghamshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Nottinghamshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Northumberland

    Robert Morden's playing card of Northumberland

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Derbyshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Derbyshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Cheshire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Cheshire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Lancashire

    Robert Morden's playing card of Lancashire

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Cumberland

    Robert Morden's playing card of Cumberland

  • Robert Morden's playing card of Westmorland

    Robert Morden's playing card of Westmorland

The Turpin Edition

Some hundred years later Robert Morden's playing cards appeared in a pocket atlas A Brief Description of England and Wales Printed for H. Turpin, No. 104 St. John's Street, West Smithfield. The images are printed on small pieces of paper which are then stuck down to blank pages of the book. The suite marks are gone and the towns are now denoted by a pictorial symbol. It is possible by this time the plates had been melted down but Homan Turpin, a publisher and bookseller at 104 St. John's Street had acquired a stock of old printed sheets. The book is undated but thought to be in the early 1780's. An extremely rare later edition was published by Robert Bassam circa 1796 who had premises in the same street but at number 53.

I am illustrating the plates from a copy of the book in my own collection. The hand colouring is modern.

  • Homan Turpin titlepage A Brief Description of England and Wales

    Homan Turpin titlepage A Brief Description of England and Wales

  • How to use the Morden / Turpin cards

    How to use the Morden / Turpin cards

  • Bedfordshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Bedfordshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Berkshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Berkshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Buckinghamshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Buckinghamshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Cambridgeshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Cambridgeshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Cheshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Cheshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Cornwall Morden / Turpin playing card

    Cornwall Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Cumberland Morden / Turpin playing card

    Cumberland Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Derbyshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Derbyshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Devonshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Devonshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Dorsetshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Dorsetshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Durham Morden / Turpin playing card

    Durham Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Essex Morden / Turpin playing card

    Essex Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Gloucestershire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Gloucestershire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Hampshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Hampshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Herefordshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Herefordshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Hertfordshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Hertfordshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Huntingdonshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Huntingdonshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Kent Morden / Turpin playing card

    Kent Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Lancashire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Lancashire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Leicestershire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Leicestershire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Lincolnshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Lincolnshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Middlesex Morden / Turpin playing card

    Middlesex Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Monmouthshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Monmouthshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Norfolk Morden / Turpin playing card

    Norfolk Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Northamptonshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Northamptonshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Northumberland Morden / Turpin playing card

    Northumberland Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Nottinghamshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Nottinghamshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Oxfordshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Oxfordshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Rutlandshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Rutlandshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Somerset Morden / Turpin playing card

    Somerset Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Staffordshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Staffordshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Suffolk Morden / Turpin playing card

    Suffolk Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Surrey Morden / Turpin playing card

    Surrey Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Sussex Morden / Turpin playing card

    Sussex Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Warwickshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Warwickshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Westmorland Morden / Turpin playing card

    Westmorland Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Wiltshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Wiltshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Worcestershire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Worcestershire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Yorkshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Yorkshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Anglesey Morden / Turpin playing card

    Anglesey Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Breconshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Breconshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Cardiganshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Cardiganshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Carmaethenshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Carmaethenshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Caernarvonshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Caernarvonshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Denbighshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Denbighshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Flintshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Flintshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Glamorganshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Glamorganshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Merionethshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Merionethshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Montgomeryshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Montgomeryshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Pembrokeshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Pembrokeshire Morden / Turpin playing card

  • Radnorshire Morden / Turpin playing card

    Radnorshire Morden / Turpin playing card

References:

  • Antique Maps of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by R. C. E. Quixley, Expanded by J. M. E. Quixley
  • Map Collectors' Series. No. 87: Playing Cards Depicting maps of the British Isles, and of English and Welsh Counties. By Sylvia Mann and David Kingsley
Ancient scrolls and pens
RICHARD NICHOLSON
of CHESTER

Stoneydale
Pepper Street
Christleton
Chester
CH3 7AG

Telephone

01244 336004

International 44 1244 336004

Richard and Nelson

I have been buying and selling antique maps since the early 1960's during which time I had a gallery in Watergate Street, Chester for 30 years. I am now able to offer through my websites a personal service to map and print collectors.

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Robert Morden Playng Cards

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