− British Isles pre-19th century
Kirk's London Cries playing cards c. 1754
The images presented here were scanned from a set of facsimiles produced in 1974 by the cartographer and antiquarian Harry Margary (1913–98). With the deck came a small printed sheet of historical notes written by Ralph Hyde, the then Keeper of Prints and Maps at the Guildhall Library. According to Hyde, the original set of cards was printed and sold from around 1754 by John Kirk, the proprietor of the Grotto Toy Shop in St Paul’s Churchyard, London. The 7 of Diamonds shows the view from the doorway of the toy shop, and the Jack of Diamonds shows Noble Street, where Kirk had his shop until a few years previously. John Kirk died in 1762 and the family business continued selling toys and playing cards into the early 19th century.