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La Sibylle des Salons

La Sibylle des Salons facsimile of 19th century deck published by J M Simon, 1979.

La Sibylle des Salons was originally published by H. Pussey in the 1840s as 52 hand coloured lithographs accompanied by a 24 page booklet titled “Art de Tirer Les Cartes” in a decorated slip case. Fortune-telling had entered the ladies’ sitting room. The Bibliothèque Nationale de France (online catalogue) states that it is commonly accepted that these cards, signed ‘Mansion’, pseudonym of André Léon Larue, are in fact due to his pupil, Jean-Jacques Grandville (1803-1847). The set was reproduced later that century by Grimaud, c.1890.

Right: detail of wrapper from 1890 edition →

The Grimaud edition contains 52 cards + a blank card in a paper wrapper. There was more than one edition at this time and colouring varies. The 52 illustrated cards are numbered 1-52 in the upper right corner, and in the upper left there are French standard playing card insets so that whist can also be played. At the bottom of each card is a cartomantic prediction. The subjects are all the usual fortune-telling repertoire: sucess, flattery, a lawyer, a dark young man, an old woman, delay, death, and so on. There have been several more recent facsimiles of this deck by Grimaud and France Cartes.


La Sibylle des Salons facsimile published by J M Simon / France Cartes, 1979.

Published as “The Parlour Sibyl”. See the Box

La Sibylle des Salons facsimile published by J M Simon, 1979 La Sibylle des Salons facsimile published by J M Simon, 1979 La Sibylle des Salons facsimile published by J M Simon, 1979 La Sibylle des Salons facsimile published by J M Simon, 1979 La Sibylle des Salons facsimile published by J M Simon, 1979 La Sibylle des Salons facsimile published by J M Simon, 1979

Above: La Sibylle des Salons (“The Parlour Sibyl”) facsimile published by J M Simon / France Cartes, 1979. 52 cards plus instruction book in French and English. Cards measure 75mm x 114mm.


Further References

Bibliothèque Nationale de France: La Sibylle des Salons 1890

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

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Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.

His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.

Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.

Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.

His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.


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