What is ‘Facecard’?
A Facecard is also known as a ‘Courtcard’ and represents a Jack, Queen, or King of any suit. Along with being known as facecards and courtcards, rather confusingly, a facecard is often called a ‘paint card’ or a ‘picture card’.
There are a total of twelve Facecards in a standard deck of cards, these are the J,Q,K of Spades, the J,Q,K of Clubs, the J,Q,K of Diamonds and the J,Q,K of Hearts.
Remarkably the facecards in a standard deck of English playing cards have a history dating as far back as 1565, when the design was centred around models produced by Frenchman Pierre Marechal.
He created a deck of cards where the Kings wore a crown over a flat cap, and long fur-lined cloaks opening to reveal stockinged legs. Likewise, the Queens and Jacks are undoubtedly the ancestors of the English pack.
Towards the close of the 16th century, French playing card manufacturers began naming the court cards (facecards) after worthy heroes in the epics of medieval history and by the 17th Century a definite set of names had been established.
Nowadays, most facecard designs come from a double-ended version of facecards from the Victorian era i.e. the 1870’s onwards.
Note that the facecards got their name as they represent a medieval Kings court where the Queen would often be present and the Jack representing a Knave which formerly meant a boy or servant who would also have a presence at ‘Court’.
Also known as picture cards as they are the only twelve cards to have a relevant picture printed on them as opposed to numbered cards which just have the suit and number attached to them.
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