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Published March 21, 2018 Updated June 07, 2022

Jeu Grotesque

Jeu Grotesque was first published in France c.1800.

1800 France Italy Solleone Caricatures Humour Add to Collection

Jeu Grotesque was first published in France c.1800 featuring satirical and comic caricatures with enormous heads designed to excite laughter as well as for playing card games. Each card has a miniature playing card in the upper left-hand corner. The 12 court cards are actually double-ended with a different picture each way, whilst the numeral cards (A, 7, 8, 9 and 10) are caricatures of Janus figures. The original cards each measure 10.8 x 6.8 cm.

Jeu Grotesque published by Vito Arienti, Edizioni del Solleone, 1977

Above: facsimile published by Vito Arienti, Edizioni del Solleone, limited edition of 999 copies, 1977.

Jeu Grotesque published by Vito Arienti, Edizioni del Solleone, 1977

Miniature Version

miniature version of Jeu Grotesque published by Vito Arienti, Edizioni del Solleone, 1977

Above: miniature uncut version of Jeu Grotesque published by Vito Arienti, Edizioni del Solleone, 1977.

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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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