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Grand Jeu Lenormand

Above: the Grand Jeu de Mlle Le Normand has been published by B-P Grimaud since c.1890, more or less unchanged but with different back designs occurring over the years. It appears to have been first published in Paris in 1845 (shortly after Mme Lenormand's death in 1843). See: (about half-way down the page).

Images and notes courtesy Rex Pitts with extra research by Anthony Lee.

Grand Jeu de Mlle Le Normand

Mademoiselle Marie-Anne Adelaide Lenormand was born in Normandy, France in 1772. She was the daughter of a draper and his wife but was left an orphan at 5 years old when they both died. She claimed that she was given her first pack of cards by a Gipsy when she was very young and taught how to read them. Despite being brought up by foster parents she was well educated and by the age of 18 was becoming well known as a fortune teller. At this time in France cartomancy was forbidden by law and so from time to time she was arrested and spent a very short time in prison. As her fame grew she told fortunes for the revolutionary leaders Marat, St. Juste and Robespierre among others. Later she did the same for the Emperor Napoleon and Empress Josephine as well as the Tsar of Russia, Alexander I. She wrote many books during her lifetime on cartomancy but the famous Petit Lenormand fortune telling pack was only published a few years after she died in 1843. This beautiful pack of 52 large cards plus a male and female consultant measures 90mm x 129mm, and the main pictures refer to Greek gods, godesses, myths, allegories (including alchemy) and legends:

  • 1 ♠ Europa abducted by Zeus in the form of a bull
  • 3 ♠ the Moirai or fates of Greek mythology
  • 6 ♠ The Trojan Horse
  • 8 ♠ After killing Hector, Achilles drags his body behind his chariot round the walls of Troy
  • 3 ♦ Possibly Castor and Pollox
  • 8 ♦ Assembly of Gods, including Ganemede
  • 9 ♦ Greek ships arriving to besiege Troy
  • 1 ♣ Jason and the Golden Fleece
  • 5 ♣ Heracles 9th Labour – to steal the girdle of Hippolyte
  • 9 ♣ Heracles 2nd Labour – destroying the Lernaean Hydra
  • 11 ♣ Hippomenes distracting Atalanta with golden apples to win a race for her hand in marriage
  • 12 ♣ Golden apples in the Garden of the Hesperides
  • 4 ♥ Possibly Aphrodite and Eros riding dolphins
  • 9 ♥ Heracles 1st Labour – Killing the Nemean lion

Can anyone identify more pictures?

Last Updated June 14, 2016 at 07:45pm


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