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Published November 30, 2017 Updated June 14, 2023

V. F. Solesio Tarot

V. F. Solesio Tarot, Genoa, mid-late 19th century.

1860 Italy Solesio Tarot Piedmont Add to Collection

North Italian Piedmont tarot deck published by Solesio of Genoa c.1860. The Solesio family was a dynasty of card-makers first recorded in the early 17th century, with branches in Italy and Spain. Factories were operated by successive descendents of the family but it is not clear who V.F. Solesio was, possibly Vittorio Filippo Solesio (1846-1893), Faustino's son, as the original inscription on the two of cups woodblock appears to have been altered, and V.F. Solesio overprinted onto blank space on the four aces. The Italian branch of the business survived into the 1980s, exporting extensively and developing cheaper production methods, putting many competitors out of business.

V. F. Solesio Tarot, mid-late 19th century

Above: the four aces and two of cups read “V.F. Solesio Genova”  (Click to zoom). The backs are decorated with a pattern of blue dots
See the watermark

V. F. Solesio Tarot, mid-late 19th century V. F. Solesio Tarot, mid-late 19th century V. F. Solesio Tarot, mid-late 19th century V. F. Solesio Tarot, mid-late 19th century

Above: the names of the court cards and trumps are in Italian in this example, although sets with French inscriptions are also known. Roman numerals are used on the trumps.

V. F. Solesio Tarot, mid-late 19th century

Above: Piedmont tarot from the mid-late 19th century printed in blue ink with stencilled colours.


A (probably) slightly earlier edition of this pack, without the overprinted name "V. F. Solesio", can be viewed at the British Museum website • Museum number 1896,0501.1 and also at the Bibliothèque nationale de France website • Jeu de tarot piemontais F. F. Solesio (Genova)


CREDITS & REFERENCES

All images courtesy of Maria Alessandra Umiltà.

Bellezza, Maria: A Todos Alumbra, in “La Sota” Nº19, Asescoin, Madrid, 1998.

Mann, Sylvia: All Cards on the Table, Jonas Verlag/Deutsches Spielkarten-Museum, Leinfelden-Echterdingen, 1990

Thanks to Alberto Pérez González and Jean Darquenne for additional research.

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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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