“Le Nouvel Etteilla” cartomancy deck was published in Paris by La Veuve Gueffier in 1806. The interpretations printed around the sides of the 32 playing cards had already been published and discussed by Etteilla in his book “Maniere de se recreer avec un jeu de cartes” in 1770. This was his new method for cartomancy using ordinary playing cards, but the book contained no illustrations of these cards. Packs with this format are believed to have been published since 1791, mostly posthumously after Etteilla’s death, and usually titled “Le Petit Etteilla”. It is not clear why this edition was called “new” unless it was in fact the first one of its kind. Packs continued to be published until c.1900, and even today modern facsimiles are being produced.
The title card shows a sort of alchemist-magician in his laboratory, reading the cards whilst consulting a scroll manuscript lying on the table - possibly the Egyptian Book of Thoth which Etteilla (1738-1791) had been re-interpreting in the latter years of his life. Printed on the two extra cards is "No. 1 Etteilla ou le Questionant". One of these cards also bears the addresses "A Paris chez Mme. Ve. Gueffier Relieuse, rue Galande No.61” and also the address of “Croisey Md. Papetier rue de la Huchette No. 19". Mme Gueffier also published “Le Petit Oracle des Dames” in 1807.
Etteilla’s cartomantic and philosophical writings did meet with some derision from those who denied that future events might be forseen in random images, or who saw themselves as more respectable occult scientists, or freemasons who didn’t do occultism. However his legacy left a strong influence on cartomantic decks for at least a century after his death.
Etteilla: “Maniere de se recreer avec un jeu de cartes”, Amsterdam & Paris, 1770. Digital copy at Bibliothèque nationale de France►
Note: an 1826 edition of “Le petit Etteilla ou l'Art de tirer les cartes d'après les plus célèbres cartomanciers” contains images of the Petit Etteilla cards, as illustrated above, see BnF: Le petit Etteilla, 1826. A much later compilation of “Le petit Etteilla : art de tirer les cartes, Nouvelle édition par Flamand” (1874) is illustrated with standard English cards, not French ones with interpretations around the edges, although p.15 has an image of card "No. 1 Etteilla ou le Questionant". See BnF: Le petit Etteilla►
O’Donoghue, Freeman M: Catalogue of the collection of playing cards bequeathed by Lady Charlotte Schreiber, Trustees of the British Museum, London, 1901 (French 56).
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.
A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A political pack designed by Pino Zac and published in 1977 by Editions Arts et Lettres.
Geometric designs by the French artist Jean Garçon for Knoll International, the furniture company.
Standard French cards but printed with fluorescent inks on a black background.
Free reinterpretation of the traditional Paris pattern courts by the artist Claude Weisbuch.
Publicity pack for the Campanile hotel and restaurant chain featuring French provincial costumes, wi...
Fate fortune telling cards published by Merrimack Publishing Corporation, USA.
German-suited Cartomancy deck published by Johann Ernst Backofen, Nürnberg.
“Les métiers et leurs protecteurs” playing cards published by Editions Dusserre, c. 1995.
Famous people associated with Nicolas Fouquet’s splendid château of Vaux-le-Vicomte.
French navigators and explorers on a promotional pack for the C.M.C.R shipping company.
Characters from the 2007 film Shrek the Third, a DreamWorks Animation production.
Advertising pack designed by James Hodges for a company specialising in regional cakes and biscuits....
Joan of Arc and her contemporaries in a colourful pack designed by Patrice Louis.
Typical costumes and views of Alsace together with lists of the principal sights.
Egg-shaped cards created by Rodolfo Krasno employing photographic images by Michel Leclerc.
French Cartomancy cards published by J. Gaudais; printed by Mansion, Paris, c.1830.
Costumes from four operas premiered at the Paris Opera between 1830 and 1840.
Honouring the bicentenary of the Montgolfier brothers’ first balloon flights in 1783.
A colourful pack aimed at children, with illustrations by Muriel Kerba.
Costante Costantini's second Minchiate deck, “Le Nuove Minchiate di Firenze”, was published by Solle...
Publicity pack for Gibert Jeune, the famous Parisian bookshop, with designs by James Hodges.
Modern Italian fortune-telling pack from 1975, with designs by Sergio Ruffolo.
Costumes des Peuples Étrangers & Jeu d’Or dedicated to young people and likely used for games and fo...
Nile Fortune cards no.68x published by the United States Playing Card Company, USA, 1904.
Conventional Lenormand designs on a pack from Piatnik but with unconventional numbering.
“Le Nouvel Etteilla” cartomancy deck published in Paris by La Veuve Gueffier, 1806.
History meets pop culture in a 36-card set that pays tribute to Lenormand's legacy and the colourful...
Britney Spears Oracle: A Deck and Guidebook to Be Stronger Than Yesterday — a card set for Britney f...
Révolution 1789-1989, celebrating the bicentenary of the French revolution, France, 1989