• Peter Berthoud

Jaques' Original Happy Families

Updated: Sep 4

Jaques' Original Happy Families, Pepys Series


First Published: Pepys Series by Castell Brothers Ltd., St Cross Street, London (after the original 1861 edition by John Jaques and Son)

Illustrator or Designer: John Tenniel


Contents: 44 Cards + Rules Booklet


Jaques’ Original Happy Families Box Front With Title Card
Jaques’ Original Happy Families Box Front With Title Card

There are 44 cards, 11 families of four cards each: Mr., Mrs., Miss and Master.


Jaques’ Original Happy Families cards: Bun the Baker & Grits the Grocer

Jaques’ Original Happy Families cards: Bun the Baker & Grits the Grocer


Jaques’ Original Happy Families cards: Bones the Butcher & Dose the Doctor

Jaques’ Original Happy Families cards: Bones the Butcher & Dose the Doctor


Jaques’ Original Happy Families cards: Block the Barber & Pots the Painter

Jaques’ Original Happy Families cards: Block the Barber & Pots the Painter


Jaques’ Original Happy Families cards: Bung the Brewer & Tape the Tailor

Jaques’ Original Happy Families cards: Bung the Brewer & Tape the Tailor


Jaques’ Original Happy Families cards: Chip the Carpenter & Soot the Sweep

Jaques’ Original Happy Families cards: Chip the Carpenter & Soot the Sweep


Jaques’ Original Happy Families cards: Dip the Dyer

Jaques’ Original Happy Families cards: Dip the Dyer


Pepys published this game under licence from Jaques.


The ground-breaking game of Happy Families was first published on November 12th 1861 by Jaques and Son of London and is still in print today. The marvellous illustrations were produced by Sir John Tenniel who went on to illustrate Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, become chief illustrator at Punch and receive a Knighthood for his work, the first given to an illustrator, in 1893. Later Tenniel's illustrations were augmented with an additional family of Mugs the Milkman, drawn by Irene Dodson, great niece of Charles Dodson (author of Alice's Adventures under the pen name Lewis Caroll).


The Mug family did not continue in the game after 1960 but Irene Dodson's influence did. In addition to drawing the Mugs, Dodson was responsible for the redesigning the boxes of Jaques' Happy Families and Snap in the early 20th Century. These orange and black designs were continued in the Pepys versions of the games.


When Gibsons took over the Pepys brand they continued to publish Pepys' Jaques Original Happy Families, differently boxed, and do so to this day, it is available from Gibsons online shop here. Jaques also publish their own game and have an online shop.


So in 2022 two of the most historically significant British games companies, both still family run, continue to produce versions of this classic game over 160 years after its first publication.


The Catalogue of Happy Family Games (1999) in 3 volumes by Gardener and Hayter, has the full history of the game, its antecedents and variants. The Newsletter of the English Playing Card Society Issue 135, June 2022 has a detailed article on the Jaques game drawing on Gardener and Hayter's work. You can see an example of an early pack at World of Playing Cards . WOPC also have numerous articles on other versions of Happy Families many of them written by the late Rex Pitts.




Game & Version Details



Jaques’ Original Happy Families- Card Back



Jaques’ Original Happy Families - Rules Front



Jaques’ Original Happy Families - Rules Back


Games Advertised:

Woodland Happy Families

Woodland Snap



Jaques’ Original Happy Families - Box Back



Jaques’ Original Happy Families - Box Top



Jaques’ Original Happy Families - Box Side Left



Jaques’ Original Happy Families - Box Base



Jaques’ Original Happy Families - Box Side Right



​Jaques’ Original Happy Families - Box Back With Flap