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Published July 03, 1996 Updated July 04, 2023

Florentine Pattern

Originally one of several designs which emerged during the nineteenth century, the Florentine pattern has several distinctive features.

Italy Cambissa Dal Negro Masenghini Pignalosa Florentine Pattern Add to Collection

One of several similar designs which emerged during the nineteenth century, the French-suited, single-figured, large-format Florentine pattern has several distinctive features. The courts are realistically drawn without formalised style, and are dressed in Renaissance costume. The king of diamonds is reading a scroll; the jack of clubs is holding a large book; the queen of hearts is holding a letter, or about to drop it. There are no indices, usually 40 cards. The example shown below is from an uncut sheet by Edoardo Pignalosa, Rampe Brancaccio 76, Napoli, c.1946.

uncut sheet by Edoardo Pignalosa, Rampe Brancaccio 76, Napoli, c.1946

Above: detail from an uncut sheet by Edoardo Pignalosa, Rampe Brancaccio 76, Napoli, c.1946. The complete sheet can be seen here

Florentine pattern by Cambissa & Co., Trieste, 1970

Above: Florentine pattern by Cambissa & Co., Trieste, 1970. Images courtesy Rex Pitts.

Florentine pattern by Masenghini, Bergamo

Above: Florentine pattern by Masenghini, Bergamo. Images courtesy Rex Pitts.

Above: Florentine pattern by Dal Negro.

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

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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