Playing cards depicting medical staff wearing PPE and carrying COVID-19 tests

Made:
2020

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Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Two sets of 52 custom bridge playing cards, two jokers and two explanation cards in a presentation pack, where the court cards (jacks, queens, kings and jokers) are depicted as medical staff, and the Ace of Spaces as the then Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards, Dr (Christopher) John Eaton, illustrated with images of the COVID-19 virus, designed by Stacey Jay Kelly, printed by Cartamundi, in England, and sold by the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards to raise funds for the Lord Mayor's Appeal, 2020

For the year 2019-2020, Dr C John Eaton was Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards. His term was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also had COVID-19 in March 2020, with the symptoms of a loss of taste and a high temperature. He narrowly avoided going to hospital. As he and his wife are both retired medical doctors, they realised the seriousness of the virus, seeking help from their local hospital and the NHS helpline 111.

Each year since 1882, the Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards commissions a set of commemorative playing cards. These are given to the Company’s 150 members at a banquet at London’s Mansion House. Reflecting on his own experience of COVID-19 and after suggestions from others, he decided to commission a deck of cards showing medical staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and carrying COVID-19 tests. Traditionally, the Master of the Company is shown on the Ace of Spades, wearing the ceremonial dress. For this deck of cards, Dr Eaton is shown wearing a face covering.

Launched in June 2020, 1200 decks with blue backs were made and a further 1000 red backed decks were produced. Originally intended to be sold among people from the livery companies, the cards proved so popular they were sold to the public and just over 4,000 were produced. In total £15,000 was raised for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal – an initiative to make London a city that is inclusive, healthy, skilled and fair.

Details

Category:
Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
2022-233
Materials:
card (320um Superluxe), linen and varnish
Measurements:
overall (presentation pack): 27 mm x 127 mm x 27 mm,
overall (one pack): 90 mm x 60 mm x 21 mm,
type:
playing cards
taxonomy:
  • recreational artifacts