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House of Cards Note

Ray Eames


The Eameses concerned themselves not only with the development and design of their products, but also with ongoing matters of production and quality control. For the House of Cards, this meant ensuring that the color and image quality of the cards’ vibrant designs remained up to their high standards. This particular deck was set aside by Ray to make certain that a first-run would always be available for comparison to later printings. To ensure its safekeeping, Ray wrapped the deck in pink paper, which she then covered with handwritten notes and instructions. At far left, the House of Cards’ manufacturer, Tigrett Enterprises, is named. At far right, Ray’s intention for the set is explained: an arrow connects the word “SAVE” to the phrase “QUALITY CONTROL,” which is circled and emphasized by an exclamation point, charmingly punctuated with a heart. In between, Ray identifies the deck and insists on its importance, writing: “EXAMPLE / 1 ONLY / ORIGINAL / H OF C / PICTURE DECK.” Flipping the deck over reveals that a final warning, “DO NOT TOUCH,” is written over the papers’ folds.

  • Medium:Pen on paper
  • Dimensions:1/2 x 4 x 2 1/2 in. (1.3 x 10.2 x 6.4 cm)
  • Design Date:1945
  • Item:T.2019.2.309