Eight introductory cards to a pack of cards depicting the counties of England
                    and Wales, 1590 Among the most intriguing and attractive of all printed images from 17th-century Britain are packs of pictorial playing cards, through which complex data could be presented in an appealing yet flexible way. The earliest series is a set of cards showing the maps of the counties of England, which dates from c. 1590, and a further interesting series of cards which combine maps with other mnemonic devices dates from c. 1605. Mostly, however, it was in the last decades of the century that such cards enjoyed a vogue. Many of these comprise sets of images of the political crises of the day, which are presented almost as strip cartoons, from the ‘Knaveries of the Rump’ to the Popish Plot and the Glorious Revolution. Others are didactic or recreational, ranging from sets of maps of the countries of the world and other educational tools to fortune-telling cards. A few such sets already appear on our database, but this is an area which we hope to develop at a future date.