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Jacob Holmblad c.1820

Jacob Holmblad c.1820

Standard woodblock and stencil deck produced by Jacob Holmblad with double-ended court cards in the tradition of the French ‘Paris’ pattern but with no names on the court cards. Some of the cards have handwritten inscriptions at each end by a former owner who was evidently a student of cartomancy: the A♥ predicts “a ring” or “a duel” and also features a red over-stamp referring to Jacob Holmblad's royal licence to print playing-cards which had been granted in 1820. The A♦ has the red Danish playing-card tax stamp with three lions and a crown. The J♣ has an oval shield with the manufacturer's name.

Standard woodblock and stencil pack produced by Jacob Holmblad with double-ended court cards in the tradition of the French ‘Paris’ pattern, c.1820

Above: Standard woodblock and stencil pack produced by Jacob Holmblad with double-ended courts and numeral cards in the tradition of the French ‘Paris’ pattern, c.1820. Handwritten cartomancy interpretations in Danish.

Fortune Buchholtz wrote: One of the antique words sends us to the Danish equivalent of the OED for historical usages! 9♥rx, the mirror, apparently used to be an interesting building feature where people would have these half-mirror windows so you could look out into the street but passersby could not see into the drawing room; this was the so-called "window mirror." Perhaps in contrast to joy it evoked loneliness or isolation at that time?

A♥: Upright - A Ring (union); Reversed - A Duel (opposition)
A♦: Upright - A Happy Letter; Reversed - A Jealous Lover
J♥: Upright - A Suitor; Reversed - The Same
J♣: Upright - A Servant; Reversed - The Same
J♠: Upright - A Priest; Reversed - The Same
10♥: Upright - A Great Gift; Reversed - A Rendezvous
9♥: Upright - Profound Joy (deep); Reversed - A Mirror (superficial)
10♠: Upright - Tears; Reversed - A Death


REFERENCES

Hinrup, Hans J.: The Holmblad Playing Card Patterns, in "The Playing-Card" vol.33 no.4, IPCS London, Apr-June 2005.

Jensen, K. Frank: French suited tarot packs in Denmark and the Jacob Holmblad Animal tarot, in "The Playing-Card" vol.36 no.3, IPCS London, Apr-June 2008.   [download here].

All images courtesy K. Frank Jensen.

Last Updated July 27, 2015 at 08:02pm

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