Origine des Cartes à Jouer. Dediée aux Amateurs.

PLAYING CARDS. DURAND Pierre Charles ([1811])


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Hand-coloured etching with engraved lettering by Antoine-Achille Bourgeois de la Richardière after Pierre Charles Durand. On wove paper (no watermark). [Sheet size: 563 x 45 mm; 485 x 320 mm]. Comprises: "A table showing (left to right) the suits of clubs, spades, diamonds and hearts, with historical explanations, having the Kings and Queens for each identified with historical figures; above centre, a statement about the history of playing cards, stating that they were invented in France during the reign of Charles V; at the top, a representation of a play by Thomas Corneille entitled 'Le Triomphe des Dames' in which the actors take the parts of playing cards, flanked by plaques lettered with a history of playing cards, on the left and a description of the play, on the right." (British Museum description). The play was performed at the Hôtel Guénégaud in 1676 and the scene depicted is the 'Ballet du jeu de Piquet' 

A few short closed tears at the edges of the sheet, a little dust-soiling and light foxing/spotting at the margins and a diagonal light brown stain across the top-left corner of the image; traces of a mount at the top-left, old number "88" in the upper and lower left corners.


Paris: chez Mr. Astruc,

The only institutional copies of this impressive sheet that we can trace are in the British Museum (bequeathed by Lady Charlotte Schreiber, 1812-95, a great collector of games, playing cards, and fans) and in the Bibliothèque nationale de France; an impression was sold at auction in Paris in January 2016.


It was advertised for sale in the Journal Génerale de l'Imprimerie et de la Libraire (No. 18, 2 April 1811) and the Journal de l'Empire (22 April 1811, at 2 francs 50 centimes (3 francs with postage) but has otherwise escaped notice.

Stock Code: 56131

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