This is the first French Transformation Playing Cards – somewhat unique as it has contemporary manuscript annotations on the reverse to describe the scene depicted by each card.
It is recorded that Baron Atthalindesigned these cards whilst on a sea crossing from Palermo to Marseilles in 1814.
Elsewhere this pack is described as issued in 1815 and 1832 but the BNF records the correct date as 1817 – see here.
The cards have plain backs and court cards depict historical figures. The cards are finely etched “showing a high level of artistic ability… with considerable detail". [ Albert Field ] and when you examine the cards closely you have to agree with that comment.
The Jack of Clubs is really interesting as it is a self portrait with Atthalin designing playing cards and his son [?] examining the cards. The name 'Louis Atthalin' appears in the shield on the legendary knight – Lancelot.
I love some of the transformed images, many of which appear in much later editions of Transformed Playing Cards – the originality is to be admired.
I have detailed all 52 cards and the reverses with the French notations so that they can be viewed by all – they will remain on site whether they sell or not. All cards, front and reverse, are available to buy at Games Et Al.
For more information, also see Rex Pitt's review a reproduction of this pack ►
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