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Published July 03, 1996 Updated March 16, 2022

Animal Tarok by Jean Friedrich Mayer (1752-1783)

Animal Tarok by Jean Friedrich Mayer (1752-1783).

Denmark Jean Friedrich Mayer Tarock
Danish ‘Tarok’ cards by Jean Friedrich Mayer

Danish ‘Tarok’ cards by Jean Friedrich Mayer   (1752-1783)

This Animal Tarok pack with French suit marks was made by the printer Jean Friedrich Mayer of Copenhagen, who had been granted a royal privilege to print playing-cards in Denmark from 1752-1783. It is one of the earliest surviving packs known to have been made in Denmark. Mayer's animal tarok images came from the same tradition as several other animal tarock decks which were circulating in Germany and Belgium around the mid-18th century. As Mayer is assumed to be an immigrant card maker, he may have brought the woodblocks with him from abroad.

Jean Friedrich Mayer (1752-1783)

Above: cards from facsimile edition of pack preserved in the National-museum in Copenhagen. 78 cards. Reproduction by Hagen & Sørensen, Odense, 1978. Distribution by Editions Ouroboros, Roskilde.

REFERENCES

Jensen, K. Frank: French suited tarot packs in Denmark and the Jacob Holmblad Animal tarot, in "The Playing-Card" Vol.36 No.3, Apr-June 2008.   [download here].


Belgian Animal Tarot deck hidden in a devotional book

18th century Belgian Animal Tarot deck hidden in a devotional book

Above: an 18th century Belgian Animal Tarot deck hidden in a devotional book. From the collection of the National Playing Card Museum, Turnhout, Belgium.

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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. 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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