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Dessoris

Published December 27, 2023 Updated December 27, 2023

Spanish-suited cards by Dessoris, Perpignan, which anticipate the French Catalan pattern.

France Dessoris French Catalan Pattern Add to Collection

The Dessoris cardmaking dynasty was founded by François Dessoris who settled in Pepignan in 1805-1806. Apprenticed in a playing card factory in Montpellier, he married the daughter of the owner: Marie-Antoinette Boissonnade. He then inherited the family business which he transferred to Perpignan. He died in 1843 and his son Joseph Dessoris succeeded him. He in turn disappeared in 1845 and it was the women who managed the business until the end of the 19th century (Jean-Pierre Garrigue, 2014).

The two packs shown below, by Dessoris in Perpignan, derive from the old Spanish National pattern, but with local idiosyncrasies which later emeged as the French Catalan pattern used in the French Pyrenees region. In both examples the ace of coins has the arms of Spain with scrolls reading "Dessoris a Perpignan", while "Dessoris, France" is printed on every court card. Also a cat motif is seen on the fours of coins. In the second example several court cards have moved away from the Spanish National pattern into poses found in the French Catalan pattern. In both examples there are small index numbers in the corners and border breaks, or pintas to indicate the suits.

Spanish-suited cards by Dessoris, Perpignan, 19th century. © The Trustees of the British Museum Spanish-suited cards by Dessoris, Perpignan, 19th century. © The Trustees of the British Museum Spanish-suited cards by Dessoris, Perpignan, 19th century. © The Trustees of the British Museum Spanish-suited cards by Dessoris, Perpignan, 19th century. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Above: Spanish-suited cards by Dessoris, Perpignan, 19th century. Backs plain, 48 cards, hand-coloured woodcut. © The Trustees of the British Museum • Museum number 1896,0501.843


Spanish-suited cards by Dessoris, Perpignan, 19th century. © The Trustees of the British Museum Spanish-suited cards by Dessoris, Perpignan, 19th century. © The Trustees of the British Museum Spanish-suited cards by Dessoris, Perpignan, 19th century. © The Trustees of the British Museum Spanish-suited cards by Dessoris, Perpignan, 19th century. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Above: Spanish-suited cards by Dessoris, Perpignan, 19th century, 48 cards, hand-coloured woodcut. © The Trustees of the British Museum • Museum number 1896,0501.842

References

British Museum: Museum number 1896,0501.843 and 1896,0501.842

Jean-Pierre Garrigue, the History of Catalan Playing Cards, online summary: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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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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