Tarot Microscopique

Tarot Microscopique, B. Dondorf, c.1870

French-suited tarot cards manufactured by B. Dondorf (1833-1933), Frankfurt am Main, early version c.1870 : clubs depict Germany, Spades Russia, Hearts represent France and Diamonds depict England. For example, in the uncut, uncoloured proof sheet shown below, the first Ace in the top row (hearts) depicts the Louvre and Versailles; the first cavalier in the second row (diamonds) is titled "Marlborough", whilst the Jack of diamonds (holding an open book) is titled "Shakespeare", and so on. The musical harlequin is "L'Excuse" (The Fool).

Tarot Microscopique, B. Dondorf, c.1870

Above: uncut sheet of "Tarot Microscopique" by B. Dondorf, c.1870. Lithographic printing from fine engravings, uncoloured. The complete deck contained 78 cards.

Although this was Dondorf's only Tarot pack, several editions were published with differences between them. The cards shown here represent a rather rare early version of the pack, hand-coloured with the help of stencils.   See later version →

Dondorf's Tarot, early version from c.1870

Above: Dondorf's Tarot, early version from c.1870. Images courtesy Barney Townshend.

Last Updated February 07, 2016 at 04:59pm


Join the Newsletter

Editor’s Picks

Playing cards have enormous educational value, with a long history and many diverse types and graphical styles from around the world... View More →

back to top