Seventeenth century French playing cards
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.
Member since February 01, 1996View Articles
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.
Table tennis players in action published by La Ducale, an imprint of Grimaud, France, 1979.
Tarot game pack with fantasy sci-fi artwork on the trumps published by Pocket SF, France.
Jeu de 54 cartes, completely anonymous, designed to resemble locally produced French packs.
Luxurious Spanish-suited pack made by Alphonse Arnoult, Paris, France, c.1850.
Original designs from the French overseas department of Martinique by local artist Martine Porry.
Standard French designs adapted for children. Made by France Cartes for La Grande Récré, c.2016.
Pack promoting Beaujolais wine published by Editions du Nuton, France.
Complete re-design of traditional pack into what the publishers considered to be ergonomically efficient.
This deck was inherited from ancestors, it has has a family history surrounding it. Details of the lives of previous owners make it all so fascinating.
My late mother found these miniature cards in a skip around 50 years ago.
La Sibylle des Salons facsimile of 19th century deck published by J M Simon, 1979.
Eurotrotter by La Ducale, c.1980s.
‘Tout Est Bien Qui Finit Bien’ family card game by Dondorf.
Puss in Boots card game manufactured by H. Fournier, 1981.
Bass & Bass ‘Jeu des Familles’ made by Franz-Josef Holler, Münich, 1989.
Gambling and Vice in the Hours of Charles V: card-playing in the local tavern
Jeu de Quaternes ‘Rizá’
A facsimile of an early 19th century French-suited deck from the collection of F.X. Schmid.
Le Jeu du Destin Antique, originally published by Grimaud in XIX c., republished many times since...
Eroticartes with drawings by Pino Zac, 1983.
Sleeping Beauty card game published in France, c.1980s.
Benedicte Morand-Bail’s striking and colourful abstract poker deck with French named courts
Bretagne (Brittany) playing cards, Grimaud, c.1970.
Jeu “Gerente” - published by Moncar in 1983 in the “Cartes de Fantasie” series.
Bicentenaire de la Révolution Française 1789–1989 created by Christian Offroy.
Jeu du Moulin by Watilliaux, Paris.
Playtex - le jeu de la beauté et du destin, Grimaud, 1971.
Jeu de Memoire card game promoting Véritable Chaumes cheese from the village of St Antoines in south west France.
Facsimile of “Le Jeu de la Guerre” designed by Gilles de la Boissière in 1698.
La Mariée du Mardi-Gras, published by Jeux et Jouets Français. Paris, early 1900s.
Parisian style Spanish deck by Grimaud for export to Uruguay.
Jeu des 7 Familles © K.F.S. Opera Mundi c.1960.
Chocolat du Planteur cards (reproduction) by French artist Louis Bourgeois-Borgex, c.1900.
Les Géants d'un Mythe created by François Poulain and manufactured by Grimaud, 1983.
“Atouts de la Vie” wartime card game created by Madame Lucien Willemetz, c.1940.
Hand-made playing cards by French prisoners of war in Porchester Castle, Hampshire, c.1796.
A continuation of the development of the off-spring of the Paris patterns and a few examples of how the French regional figures have inspired modern designers.
A great many regional patterns were exported from France and subsequently copied elsewhere. Some of them became local standards in their own right.
Continuing our look at the figures from the regional patterns of France.
On page 11 I illustrated several examples of the regional French patterns from Sylvia Mann's collection; this is a more in-depth look at the figures of these patterns ("portraits" in French).