Playing–Card: Knave of Spades

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

1840 December

Physical Description

Medium: pen and ink and watercolour
Dimensions: 3 3/4 x 2 1/2 in.

Production Description

Production Date: 1840 December


Current Location: Robert K. Black
Archival History: WMR; Mrs. Belcher; K. Gregory

Scholarly Commentary


DGR conceived a set of caricature designs intended to form a pack of comic playing cards. Surtees asserts that there is no King of Spades, but rather there are two Knaves of Spades included (Surtees 1). Marillier, in contrast, not only states the existence of a King of Spades, but includes a reproduction of that card ( Marillier 214). The Knave of Spades, according to Marillier, is conceived as a “political skit [...] representing Peel with a “free trade” halo round his head” ( Marillier 214).


The image here reproduced from The Bookman, is from an 1846 lithograph.



  1. image

    The Bookman (June 1911).
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
File Name: s4ao.rap.xml