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Published February 16, 2010 Updated July 04, 2023

Dauphiné Pattern

The Dauphiné pattern is an archaic French pattern which was manufactured in the Lyons region from the 17th century.

France Letranger Archaic Patterns Dauphiné Patterns and Suit Types Add to Collection

Dauphiné Pattern

One of nine or so regional types, the Dauphiné pattern is an archaic French pattern which was manufactured in the Lyons region during the 17th century. It lasted in France until the end of the 18th century but was also used in Italy until it was superseded by Piedmont's own version of the Paris pattern. Although this latter design is now double-ended the resemblances to the earlier prototype can easily be seen. Some of the figures in the Dauphiné pattern are common to several other early types, for example the King of Clubs who carries a sword and orb, and the Jack of Clubs (top right) with one hand on his hip.

Above: cards from a facsimile print of the Dauphiné pattern, pulled from original woodblocks made by P. Letranger, c.1650. Published by Stuart Kaplan, 1986.

assorted cards from Dauphiné pattern packs by different card makers, 1650-1750. Source gallica.bnf.fr

Above: assorted cards from Dauphiné pattern packs by different card makers, 1650-1750. Stencil coloured woodcuts, with plain white backs with handwritten notes in brown ink indicating reuse of cards. Source gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France • Cartes à jouer issues de jeux au portrait du Dauphiné

Above: cards from a double-ended version of the Dauphiné pattern by an anonymous manufacturer, possibly French or Belgian, printed from woodblocks and coloured by hand using stencils, c.1830s. The King of Clubs carries an orb and a sword, exactly as in the full-length version (shown above top row). The King of Diamonds has a falcon on his wrist, the Jack of Clubs, with a lion on his breast, stands facing the front, one hand on hip, the other on top of his halberd. The Jack of Diamonds displays what might be a north Italian influence in his style of dress.

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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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