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The English Standard Playing Card

The pattern of the modern English playing card derives from an influential design originating in Rouen, France in the 15th century. Like all standards, the English Pattern has defining elements which set it apart from other patterns. These defining elements can be found among the objects, weapons, and attire assigned to each of the characters of the Royal household. Manufacturers and card houses have kept to this form of the English pattern for well over 370 years now, more or less preserving the assignment of objects and weapons. Each one, in producing their own face cards, exhibit interpretations that pattern, and, despite a wide variation in style, colour and detail, nonetheless conform to the pattern.

The examples below show renditions of the English Standard, and other patterns from Europe.

American standard court cards American Standard Danish standard playing-cards Modiano French standard court cards Paris Pattern
Danish standard playing-cards Danish Standard Russia standard playing-cards Russia Lithuanian standard playing-cards Lithuanian

Further Reading

The English Pattern
Regional Patterns of 18th Century France
Gallery of Early Standard Playing Cards


Delcine of English Court Cards - International Playing Card Society.
The Paris Pattern - Courtesty the World of Playing Cards.
Expos´┐Ż of early and contemporary European Standards - DXPO Playing Cards.
Celebrates the English Standard Playing Card as a cultural icon - Paul Bostok's PlainBacks.com


American Standard
Paris Pattern
Danish Standards
Russian Standard
Lithuanian Standard

Early Standards

Texan No. 45's
Russel & Morgan 1886
Samuel Hart 1870
A. Dougherty 1865
De La Rue 1834
L. Hewson 1680
Pierre Maréchal 1567

History of Cards

History of Cards »
A Brief History
Theories of Origin
French Regional Patterns
Rouen Pattern
English Pattern
Origin of French Suits

Card Masters of the
19th Centrury

Thomas de la Rue
Lewis I. Cohen
Lawrence & Cohen
Samuel Hart
Andrew Dougherty
Ferdinand Piatnik


Gallery »
Early Standards
Card Backs

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