One of only THREE KNOWN EXAMPLES of this first state. Those in the Burden Collection and that in the Cary Collection at Yale University are both complete sets of cards. This card is from an incomplete collection sold in 2014. This series of cards was completely unrecorded until discovered in the early 1980s. Joseph Allen was a publisher and engraver of 3 Hampden Str., Sommerstown, London. When originally uncovered, Yasha Beresiner identified the author as John Allen. It was in 1993 that Eugene Burden reported in private correspondence that he had looked up the 1811 Directory and identified him as Joseph Allen (fl.1798-1821). His major work appears to be the co-engraving with Robert Rowe (c.1775-1843) of a plan of London entitled ‘… London, Westminster and Southwark’, first published in 1804.
Rowe had already engraved one series of county cards as a game for John Fairburn in 1798. Clearly encouraged, he persuaded Joseph Allen to produce another. The game is played by taking tricks, playing a county which is adjoining that shown on the deck. This series was engraved by Robert Rowe and the maps are derived from the 1806 issue of John Cary’s ‘Traveller’s Companion’. Here there are slightly fewer place names with more emphasis being placed on the roads. Provenance: acquired 2018 for a private English collection. Batten (1994); Beresiner (1985) incorrectly naming ‘John’ Allen; Carroll (1996) incorrectly using John Allen; Keller (1981) ‘A Catalogue of The Cary Collection of Playing Cards in the Yale University Library’ Eng 53 p. 108; Frostick (2011) no. 75; not in King (2003); Tooley’s Dictionary (1999-2004); Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).