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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Lequart Aluette

Spanish-suited Aluette pack with 'FABRICANDO IN MADRID' printed on the Two of Swords and the legend Lequart - Paris printed in the top left corners of the court cards.

Lequart, Paris - Aluette

Fifteenth century games such as "luettes" and "vaches" may have been the ancestors of the French card game of Aluette. Spanish-suited cards were used and earlier examples had few embellishments: the King of Coins wielded an axe and the 5 of Coins shows a kissing couple (presumably Ferdinand and Isabella). These gradually evolved into the idiosyncratic designs shown here including female 'cavalières', storks on the 2 and 3 of Cups, the lying cow, the little boy swinging on the 2 of Batons, the Indian on the Ace of Batons and so on. This is now known as the Modern Aluette pattern.   See also → Dieudonné Aluette

Spanish-suited Aluette cards by Lequart, Paris

Above: Spanish-suited Aluette pack with 'FABRICANDO IN MADRID' printed on the Two of Swords and the legend Lequart - Paris printed in the top left corners of the court cards. The Four of Coins (fourth row) carries the monogram 'CM' within a Star of David. Possibly made in Belgium in imitation of French production. Woodblock and stencil printing. The size of the cards is: 86 x 56 mms. See also → Dieudonné Aluette

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

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Jeu D’Aluettes - Boéchat Frères c.1950

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Lequart Aluette

Lequart Aluette

Spanish-suited Aluette pack with 'FABRICANDO IN MADRID' printed on the Two of Swords and the legend Lequart - Paris printed in the top left corners of the court cards.

Dieudonné & Cie Aluette

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