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Published June 27, 2023 Updated June 30, 2023

Natural History Tarocchi

Natural History Tarocchi by Ferdinando Gumppenberg, Milan.

Italy Gumppenberg Tarot Tarocchi Add to Collection

Ferdinando Gumppenberg, an illustrious Milanese printer, was a pioneering card designer and manufacturer in the early 19th century. Upon arriving in Milan from Munich in 1809, he introduced German technical innovation, contemporary trends and style to Italy. In this lesser-known pack, rather than the standard images, the trump cards are natural history subjects with Italian titles. Trump II has the arms of Milan and Venice, with a tablet lettered "Ferdinando Gumppenberg Fabb. di Carte di giuoco in Milano, Corsia del Giardino". The double-ended court cards are without inscriptions.

Natural History Tarocchi by Ferdinando Gumppenberg, Milan. © The Trustees of the British Museum Natural History Tarocchi by Ferdinando Gumppenberg, Milan. © The Trustees of the British Museum Natural History Tarocchi by Ferdinando Gumppenberg, Milan. © The Trustees of the British Museum Natural History Tarocchi by Ferdinando Gumppenberg, Milan. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Above: Natural History Tarocchi by Ferdinando Gumppenberg, Milan. Hand-coloured etching, 78 cards, backs printed with a pattern of blue stars. © The Trustees of the British Museum • Museum number 1896,0501.13

Gumppenberg shared his extensive knowledge and experiences gained through studying under J. Fetscher and his exposure to the latest developments in Germany and Austria during the late 18th century. His notable contributions include a wide range of tarot packs, such as the highly successful "Della Rocca" tarot, the "Sopraffino Tarot," and the non-standard "Corona Ferrea" pack. These packs were meticulously engraved from metal plates, allowing for exceptional detail and precision, earning the designation "suprafino" or superfine in Italian.


REFERENCES

O’Donoghue, Freeman M: Catalogue of the collection of playing cards bequeathed by Lady Charlotte Schreiber, Trustees of the British Museum, London, 1901 (Italian 9) [digital version here]

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By Simon Wintle

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.


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