The World of Playing Cards Logo
Published December 19, 2018 Updated March 04, 2024

62: French regional patterns: the queens and jacks

Continuing our look at the figures from the regional patterns of France.

France Andre Perrocet Guymier Courts History Archaic Patterns Burgundy Pattern Languedoc Pattern Add to Collection

The queens and jacks of the French regional patterns can also be found used in the different portraits, though there seem to be fewer of them compared to the kings.

The Queens

Some of the queen figures seem to be used with some variation in different court sets. It is difficult to know whether some of the figures should be considered sub-types or constitute a separate type. We can see this problem in dealing with Q1.

Q1 seems to have two slightly different types: one from the Perrocet set, who holds her skirt up and the other from Lyons 2 (the IV pack), who doesn’t. The latter appears in later packs, too. Notice, too, that her belt may be straight or twisted.

Above: Perrocet QD; IV QH; early 18th century QH, possibly from Burgundy

She appears in both Paris patterns (Paris 1 & 2) and Burgundy as QH and in Languedoc as QS.

The QH in Provence is another possible candidate for Q1. In early packs she appears as a hairy 'wild woman’, but this feature disappears in the later 18th century. She faces right, as does the Rouen 2/English QC, who is another candidate for the group.

Above: Provence QH/Rouen QC

There are several other possible members of this group who hold both a sceptre and a flower; I discuss these in my TPC article. They may constitute a separate group.


Q2 is found in Perrocet’s set and in later Lyons 1 packs. She holds a glove in her right hand. She may be the model for the Lyons 2 QC facing left and the QD facing right, who seem very similar to one another, but who hold flowers and fans.


Q3 is another figure who seems to come in two versions: the Lyons 2 QD with a short ermine jacket and the Paris QS with a long panel at the back of her dress. One version appears in Languedoc as the QH, and both versions seem to be used in Provence as the black queens, sometimes facing in opposite directions, sometimes both to the left.


Q4 is found in Lyonnais packs, in Perrocet and Lyons 1 as the QH and in Lyons 2 as the QS; she is also the QC in Paris 1.

Q6 has voluminous ermine sleeves: she’s QC in Lyons 2 and QD in Burgundy and Provence, though in the latter case she faces right.

The Jacks

J1 is widespread. He has one hand on his hip and the other resting on his halberd. He is the swaggering JC in Perrocet’s sheet and the JH in Provence and Burgundy. He is the JC in Lyons 3. In these examples it is possible to see how the vitality of the figure has been removed by continued copying. The swagger of Perrocet’s jack with his hips and feet at an angle, which gives some element of three-dimensionality, has been flattened into a straightened two-dimensional design. In Lyons 3 the angled arm has even been reinterpreted as a shield. All this alteration has its parallels in the changes of the Rouen 2 pattern in its development into the standard English pattern: just think of the equally swaggering Maréchal JC and its 18th and 19th century equivalents.

He also appears as the JS in Languedoc and the JC in Dauphiné facing right.


J2 is restricted to Lyons patterns as JS: Perrocet, Lyons 1 and Lyons 3. In the last version he has his front to us rather than his back. This change of orientation happens very easily when indistinct hands are interpreted as facing forward rather than away from us, so the back of the body, then becomes the front. Sometimes the hands are turned but the figure isn’t; we find the same situation with several standard English cards, e.g. JH and JS.


J3 is the profile jack who turns up as the English JS. He is JH in Lyons 1 and Languedoc and JD in Paris 1. The English JS lost the hand behind his back early on.


J4 is the JC in Lyons 2, JS in Provence and Burgundy and JC in Languedoc facing right.

He has curly hair and a strange cap with a chin strap; in later packs the cap looks like two propeller blades! A very similar figure appears as the JC in Provence, but with a raised hand and no sword. In turn this figure is reminiscent of the English JH, though he holds a staff and does have a sword.


J6 is JD in Burgundy and Guienne. Guienne and Languedoc are usually considered to be more or less the same, but in the case of the JD, the former has a beard, the latter doesn’t. (There’s a dirty smudge on the image below, but no beard!)


This brings me to another problem. The are a number of figures that are very similar and sometimes from the same pattern. If we consider the jacks from Auvergne, they all wear helmets, their heads are in profile and they all wear beards. The JD is like J6, but are the others to be considered variants of the same figure? It’s not an easy question to answer.


J7 is restricted to Paris, but has some early forebears.

Above: JC Paris 1; Jack from the Guymier sheet; JH by Faucil; a Paris 2 JC masquerading as the JH! Probably a stencilling error.


In the early court sets the figures hadn’t settled into the suits we know from later packs. An interesting example is provided by Faucil, who worked in Rouen in the 1540s. Here we have the axe-wielding king as the KC (bottom missing), the QD is the later (English) QC and the red jacks are not found in the later Rouen 2 packs. The (part) JC is J1. This assumes these odd courts are all by Faucil and the same kind of pack.


The Faucil JH turns up as the Paris 1 JH facing the other way, but he disappears when Paris 2 is introduced.

There are other figures which may or may not be related to the ones I’ve discussed here, but it’s certainly fun trying to work out the relationships between the many court cards of France.

On the next page I'll look at some of the descendants of these regional patterns.

avatar
137 Articles

By Ken Lodge

Member since May 14, 2012

​I'm Ken Lodge and have been collecting playing cards since I was about eighteen months old (1945). I am also a trained academic, so I can observe and analyze reasonably well. I've applied these analytical techniques over a long period of time to the study of playing cards and have managed to assemble a large amount of information about them, especially those of the standard English pattern. About Ken Lodge →


Related Articles

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

A limited edition art print of the 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil King of Diamonds

Woodblock and Stencil King of Diamonds

A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.

2013 Les plaques émaillées d’Antoine Vollon

Les plaques émaillées d’Antoine Vollon

54 different enamel plaques depicting silk manufacture, by the Lyon artist Antoine Vollon.

1984 Le Jeu des Musiciens

Le Jeu des Musiciens

Artist Silvia Maddonni’s gently humorous take on musicians and their instruments.

1995 Les Saints Guérisseurs et Protecteurs

Les Saints Guérisseurs et Protecteurs

Healing and patron saints portrayed in paintings, manuscripts, altarpieces and statuary.

2001 Kuzco, l’empereur mégalo

Kuzco, l’empereur mégalo

Notched cards featuring toys representing characters from the Disney film Kuzco, as offered by McDon...

1964 Monuments de Paris

Monuments de Paris

‘Monuments de Paris’ souvenir playing cards produced by Heraclio Fournier, c.1964.

1988 Lorilleux International

Lorilleux International

Promotional pack for Lorilleux International’s Lotus inks, with designs by James Hodges.

2021 Les Tontons du Rock

Les Tontons du Rock

Caricatures of rock and pop stars in black and white by Charles Da Costa.

1745 Burgundy pattern

Burgundy pattern

The old Burgundy (or Burgundian) pattern by Nicolas Chenevet, Dijon.

1980 Zodiaque

Zodiaque

“Les Signes du Zodiaque” playing cards designed by Youdi des Aubrys.

1981 British Monarchs

British Monarchs

Commemorating the royal wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer on the 29th

1991 54 Affiches Retro

54 Affiches Retro

54 different old French advertising posters, mainly for travel and health products.

1980 Jeu de la Belle Epoque

Jeu de la Belle Epoque

Jeu de la Belle Epoque, remembering a golden age of optimism, progress and elegance.

1985 Correspondances

Correspondances

‘Correspondances’ depicting the 52 transfer stations of the Paris Métropolitain, France, 1985.

1987 Jeu Gothique

Jeu Gothique

‘Jeu Gothique’ illustrating the Gothic period in France, published by Editions Dusserre.

1978 Jeu Bonaparte

Jeu Bonaparte

Jeu Bonaparte depicting the extended family of Napoleon Bonaparte, France, 1978

1989 Jeu du Bicentenaire de la Révolution Française

Jeu du Bicentenaire de la Révolution Française

Pack created by Yannick Pennanguer commemorating the bicentenary of the French Revolution and the ce...

1988 Jeu des Bonnets Phrygiens

Jeu des Bonnets Phrygiens

Reproduction of Jeu des Bonnets Phrygiens relating to the Phrygian cap (or liberty cap), France, 198...

1999 Dutch Court playing cards

Dutch Court playing cards

Games & Print Services’ version of the Dutch pattern.

1977 Jeu de la V<sup>me</sup>

Jeu de la Vme

A political pack designed by Pino Zac and published in 1977 by Editions Arts et Lettres.

1983 Jeu des Médecins

Jeu des Médecins

Cartoons of doctors and nurses by Pino Zac, published by B.P. Grimaud in 1983.

1962 Jeu Boléro

Jeu Boléro

Sweeping, semi-abstract designs by J.L. Jolin in red and black only.

1976 Le Giscarte

Le Giscarte

Le Giscarte political playing cards designed by Eddy Munerol, France, 1976.

1968 Knoll International

Knoll International

Geometric designs by the French artist Jean Garçon for Knoll International, the furniture company.

1960 Cartes à Jouer Fluorescentes

Cartes à Jouer Fluorescentes

Standard French cards but printed with fluorescent inks on a black background.

1980 SEMP playing cards

SEMP playing cards

Modified Anglo-American courts advertising a French medical publishing company.

1997 Claude Weisbuch

Claude Weisbuch

Free reinterpretation of the traditional Paris pattern courts by the artist Claude Weisbuch.

1985 Hôtels-Grils Campanile

Hôtels-Grils Campanile

Publicity pack for the Campanile hotel and restaurant chain featuring French provincial costumes, wi...

1980 MISSCŒUR

MISSCŒUR

Elongated cards from France with a fourth court card, a Miss.

1965 Jeu des Copains

Jeu des Copains

French popular singing stars of the 1960s.

1739 Trappola pack by Joseph Fetscher

Trappola pack by Joseph Fetscher

Trappola pack published by Joseph Fetscher, Graz, 1739.

Dessoris

Dessoris

Spanish-suited cards by Dessoris, Perpignan, which anticipate the French Catalan pattern.

1760 Lyon pattern by Michel Ressy

Lyon pattern by Michel Ressy

Lyon pattern by Michel Ressy, c.1760.

Trappola pack by Anton Herrl

Trappola pack by Anton Herrl

Trappola pack of 36 double-ended cards published by Anton Herrl, Graz, Austria.

1995 Les métiers et leurs protecteurs

Les métiers et leurs protecteurs

“Les métiers et leurs protecteurs” playing cards published by Editions Dusserre, c. 1995.

1994 Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

Famous people associated with Nicolas Fouquet’s splendid château of Vaux-le-Vicomte.

1975 Compagnie Maritime des Chargeurs Réunis

Compagnie Maritime des Chargeurs Réunis

French navigators and explorers on a promotional pack for the C.M.C.R shipping company.

2007 Shrek the Third playing cards

Shrek the Third playing cards

Characters from the 2007 film Shrek the Third, a DreamWorks Animation production.

1983 Jeu de cartes Armelle

Jeu de cartes Armelle

Advertising pack designed by James Hodges for a company specialising in regional cakes and biscuits....

1976 Jeanne d’Arc, “La pucelle d’Orléans”

Jeanne d’Arc, “La pucelle d’Orléans”

Joan of Arc and her contemporaries in a colourful pack designed by Patrice Louis.

75: Early American cards

75: Early American cards

An overview of some of the early cards made in the United States.