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José Martinez de Castro, Madrid, 1810

José Martinez de Castro, Madrid, 1810

Above: cards from a deck etched by José Martinez de Castro first published by Clemente Roxas in Madrid in 1810.

José Martinez de Castro (active 1795-1819) made his debut into the world of playing cards with this magnificent piece of work, which was deservedly a huge success and saw many editions. The detail of design in the vignettes on the fours and the aces is very fine. This example is from the second edition of 1812, in which extra drapery has been added to the miniature nude figures. The model was copied by manufacturers in Spain, Italy and France, and is still used today in Sardinia. Read more…

All members of the swords suit are in full armour and the sotas wear plumed helmets. The plates are usually printed in brown and carefully hand-painted with water-colours, and this example has been professionally painted in an accomplished and colourful manner.

Size of cards: 83 x 52 mms. This example, from the Complejo Museográfico de Luján (Argentina) was acquired by Don Enrique Udaondo, the museum's first director, from the anticuarian dealer Román J. Pardo in around 1930. It is not known who owned the cards prior to Pardo, or how they arrived in South America.

Thanks to Juan Carlos Recarey for assistance with this page.

Last Updated August 05, 2015 at 12:36pm

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