Marlborough’s Victories Playing Cards 1707
- First Published: 1707
- Size: 3.9" x 2.5"
These are pictorially the most elaborately engraved set of playing cards ever issued, and demonstrate fully the adulation at that time accorded to the first Duke of Marlborough during his overseas campaigns. Although primarily intended as a compliment to His Grace’s successes, the pack deals with a variety of European political issues and includes several portraits of royalty connected with the campaigns.
The spade suit comprises almost entirely a series of savage, not to say scurrilous attacks upon the French king, Louis XIV.
The pack also provides an interesting sidelight on the fall of the Duke of Marlborough from royal and public favour. It has not yet been discovered who was the original publisher of the cards, but nearly every pack of pictorial cards since the 1670s except those with marked political involvement were reprinted or reissued by a Fleet Street stationer, John Lenthall from about 1710 onwards; however, no copy of “Marlborough’s Victories” is known to have been sold after 1711, the year of his dismissal from his offices.
The pack provides, therefore, a fine illustration of’ the eternal theme of the fickle treatment of their heroes and favourites by royalty and subjects alike.
The kindness of Miss Sylvia Mann in permitting her pack of cards to be reproduced is acknowledged with grateful thanks.