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Jeu de la Géographie

“Jeu de Géographie” educational playing cards etched by Stefano Della Bella (1610-1664) and published by Henry le Gras, c.1644.

Extremely scarce “Jeu de Géographie” playing cards, one of several educational sets etched by Stefano Della Bella (1610-1664) and published by Henry le Gras, c.1644. The cards bear personifications of countries or continents, with allegorical figures. In this set the suit symbols have not been included, but the intention was that the four suits represent the four known continents: hearts are Europe; diamomds are Africa; clubs are America, and spades are Asia.

“Jeu de Géographie” educational playing cards etched by Stefano Della Bella (1610-1664) and published by Henry le Gras, c.1644

Above: “Jeu de Géographie” educational playing cards etched by Stefano Della Bella (1610-1664) and published by Henry le Gras, c.1644. The title card bears a planisphere. The cards are unsuited but with indices 1 to 10, the court cards are not indexed. All cards are hand coloured on pasteboard. Total 52 cards + title card. The cards in this set have had borders trimmed and were mounted and bound in Red Morocco leather.

REFERENCES and CREDITS

Images and notes kindly contributed by John Sings - www.gamesetal.net

See also: Bibliothèque Nationale de France

See also: Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Facsimile Edition by Lo Scarabeo, 2004

A facsimile edition was produced by Lo Scarabeo in 2004 in which suit signs and indices are included. See the Box

“Jeu de Géographie” educational playing cards etched by Stefano Della Bella (1610-1664) and published Lo Scarabeo, 2004

Above: cards from facsimile edition titled ‘Le Roi Soleil’ published by Lo Scarabeo, Torino, 2004.

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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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