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Published September 29, 2010 Updated July 11, 2023

Richard Bouvier

The assorted antique playing cards shown below are examples of the French 'Paris' pattern from the seventeenth century. The Jack of Clubs has the name Richard Bouvier.

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detail from seventeenth century French playing-card by Richard Bouvier

Seventeenth century French playing cards

Richard Bouvier

The assorted antique, single-ended playing cards shown below are examples of the French 'Paris' pattern from the seventeenth century. The Jack of Clubs has a mermaid in a small medallion, and the name Richard Bouvier who was a seventeenth century manufacturer working in Rouen and/or Abbeville. The colour scheme including purple is also present on the Jack of Spades (third card, top row) who has a small dog by his leg. The other cards have a different colour palette and may be by a different maker; also the differences in the shape of the suit symbols suggests different makers and dates. As was the custom in France at this time, the cards are named from characters in epic narratives or heroes of antiquity.

Seventeenth century French playing-cards, Richard Bouvier

Above: assorted seventeenth century French playing-cards, one of which has the manufacturer's name Richard Bouvier (Jack of Clubs). Woodblock and stencil printing. The cards appear to have been used for various secondary purposes (see below).

Seventeenth century French playing-cards, Richard Bouvier

Above: the reverse of the cards reveals several different secondary uses, which are not obvious to explain. Some cards have been folded and pierced, maybe used as stiffening, whilst others have been used for writing various pieces of information.

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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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