The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Children’s Card Games (186)

December 7th, 2012 · 5 Comments

The “New Testament Game,” published in 1899 by The Fireside Game Company, was a variation on the popular game of “Quartets.”  The deck contained 52 scenes from the life of Jesus, divided into groups of four, which the player then collected.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

Tags: Belief Systems · Card Games · Ephemera

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Win // Dec 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I did some internet typing on the artist named on this card Plockhorst, who turns out to be Bernhard Plockhorst, a 19th century German famous for religious paintings. This one looks plausibly to be taken from his illustations for “From Bethlehem to Golgatha. The Life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ according to the four gospels” by Karl Gerok (1881). Are the other scenes in this set all by Plockhorst, or by other artists we might have heard of?

  • 2 Win // Dec 8, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    And do you think Jesus might already have switched to energy-saving bulbs for his halo but decided it to himself for a couple of millenia?

  • 3 Doug // Dec 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    The other artists are: Le Rolle, Portaels, Bouguereau, Hoffmann, Muller, Goodall, Benz, Mengelberg, Zimmermann, Cornicelius, Richter, Dore, Kirchbuck, Murillo, Rubens, Da Vinci, Grieger, Munkacsy, Herriach, Raphael, Reni, Schonherr, and Coletti. Hoffmann is particularly well represented. Many of the paintings are quite arresting, although perhaps not at their best in this format.

    I think Jesus’ low wattage in this image might be due to fatigue. It was a hard day.

  • 4 Win // Dec 9, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Apologies for my appalling proof reading, Doug – I meant to say “keep it to himself” – and many thanks for going to the trouble of listing the artists. A set like this was probably a state of the art portable app at the time, a flower of pre-electronic popular culture. What a treat it must have been for an open and curious mind as yet unexposed to spinning celluloid and without an inkling of what was soon to come in radio, tv and computing. In hindsight it was an almost medieval state of shared iconography.

  • 5 Doug // Dec 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm


    Religious pictures were quite common at this time: brightly colored scenes from the Bible, with pertinent scripture and commentary. This deck seems to be an attempt to turn the genre into a game. I must say that my copy doesn’t seem to have seen much use.

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