Most likely you have seen or held in your hands playing cards of the "Russian style" deck. These cards were very popular both in the Soviet and post-Soviet years. However, not everyone knows from whom the familiar queens, jacks and kings were drawn. Yes, yes, these are not just pictures, all the “characters” of the deck had their own real historical prototypes.
Not so long ago we wrote about the last ball of the Romanovs, which took place in 1903. It was a costume ball, the guests' outfits repeated the historical costumes from the beginning of the reign of the Romanov dynasty. The luxury and elegance of the outfits, richly decorated with embroidery, pearls and precious stones, really amazed. The ball was attended by professional photographers who captured the guests and their rich attire. It was from these pictures that the well-known deck was "sketched". And on the "aces" shields were depicted, surrounded by traditional Russian armor.
Already in Soviet times, the sketches of this pre-revolutionary deck were used by the artist Yuri Ivanov. He simply redrawn the originals, which then became the basis for offset printing. The deck remained popular throughout the existence of the USSR. This is interesting, especially considering the fact that in fact the cards were portraits of the Russian pre-revolutionary nobility, and the prototype of the king of hearts was the last tsar - Nicholas II.
Original photo from the Romanov ball
Outfits for the ball were made by the best tailors in the country
During the Soviet years, other types of card decks were also issued. But none of them came close to the popularity of "Russian Style"
It's amazing that prototypes of such familiar card characters existed in reality.
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