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Published July 03, 1996 Updated December 03, 2023

Danish Tarok Cards - Holmblad, c.1850

The traditional animal images on tarok decks are here substituted by images of buildings from Copenhagen and the surrounding area. The deck had several editions, with each new edition updating the latest changes to the buildings that had taken place since the previous edition.

1850 Denmark Holmblad Tarock Add to Collection

L. P. Holmblads Fabrik i Kjøbenhavn, c.1850

After taking over from his father Jacob in 1837, L.P. Holmblad mastered the techniques and kept abreast of new production technologies. Possibly due to pressures of market competition, he began to innovate and had new designs drawn. He departed from the traditional animal images on tarok trumps which his father had employed and substituted images of buildings from Copenhagen and the surrounding area, mainly churches and castles. The deck had several editions (at least 4), with each new edition updating the latest changes to the buildings that had taken place since the previous edition. This tarok deck was continued by S. Salomon who were Holmblad's successors at the end of the century  see more →

stencil-coloured Tarok pack made by L. P. Holmblad in c.1850

Above: cards from an early stencil-coloured Tarok pack made by L. P. Holmblad in c.1850. Holmblad was the most important card-producer in Denmark and became a household name. This design had several editions and this is the only one with six full-length images on the trump cards. The Roman numerals on the trumps were replaced by Arabic numerals, and the trumps became double-ended.


REFERENCES

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

Hinrup, Hans J.: L.P. Holmblad - Danish Playing Card Maker: The Tarok Packs, in "The Playing-Card" vol.31 no.5, IPCS London, Mar-Apr 2003.

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].

Images courtesy Hans Jørgen Hinrup ~ web: https://sparfire.dk/.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.

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