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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Lilian Cailleaud’s Tarot Project

Lilian Caillaeud lino-cuts his version of the tarot by Nicolas Rolichon of Lyon c.1600

Lilian Caillaeud carves lino in his spare time. So in the spirit of sharing here is the first card of his version of the tarot by Nicolas Rolichon of Lyon c.1600

“My plan is to carve 1 card a week possibly two. The carving is the easy part it's the printing that gives me chills. I decided to add a few personnal touches. For example, I removed the shading lines and added decoration of my own. Each card measures 10.9 x 6 cm. If you’re interested I’ll keep you up to date with the project.”

 

the Hanged Man in progress

Above: the Hanged Man in progress.

Above: I had planned to do work on the ace of sword right after the fool. It was fun to do. You will notice that i made a few modifications to the design. I added garden lilies instead of the olive and laurel. My reasons for the design modifications are as follows : 1) my name comes from the lily... 2) being French I could not help remembering the arms of Joan of Arc. I replaced the fleur de lys by garden lilies.

Above: and voilà the first test. I am finishing the lines. Thinning here and there. Letters are always a nightmare especially when they are small.

Lino cutting tools

Above: my tools. I cannot do better proof work because I bring just the most essential tools to the office to work on my carving during my break.

Saint George slaying the dragon

Above: When I am not carving tarot cards I usually try my hand at other images from the 15th and 16th century. Here is Saint George slaying the dragon. All design taken from the incunabula era.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

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