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78 card Jean Noblet Tarot by Jean-Claude Flornoy

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Moonbow  Moonbow is offline
Join Date: 08 Nov 2003
Location: Southern England
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Oh my word Yves, that is such an exciting post, surely mine can't be far behind, we only have a tiny strip of water between us (maybe I should have picked it up by hand - I could have been there by lunchtime ).

I'm desperately waiting for my deck to arrive before Friday's postal strike in the UK!!
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le pendu  le pendu is offline
Join Date: 22 Oct 2003
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le pendu 

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It's arrived!

... and boy, am I happy with the quality of this deck!

I think it's tempting (but unfair) to compare the 78 card Noblet to the hand-stenciled 22 Card Noblet. The processes for how they were made are just too different.. it's like comparing hand tailored clothes to something off the rack. Honestly, I didn't expect the 78 to be close, but I'm also pleasantly surprised at how very good it is. I'd like to focus strictly on the 78, but I know I'll be bringing the 22 into it as well.

I think the first thing you'll notice when you get the box is it's size, it's shorter than most, but also pretty thick. The Noblet has odd proportions compared to other tarot decks. The only other deck that I know of being similar is one by François Heri, made in Switzerland circa 1718. Compared to other TdM decks, the Noblet is shorter and wider.

Since I designed the box all I see are things that should be changed in the next printing.. so moving on...

Once you open the box and pull out the cards, you'll see the corners are not rounded, but squared, like the original cards. For me, this immediately adds to the feeling of "authenticity".

In thickness, the card stock seems very similar to that of the 22, it's heavy; which explains the thickness of the box. This is a deck that will last a long time, with a lot of use. Unlike the 22, there is a slick coating on the cards, typical of most any other deck in your collection. The cards, when piled, easily slide and move. On the other hand, they aren't "greasy", or feel like plastic. I think Flornoy has done a great job choosing the stock, cut, and laminate. Any of these can leave a very bad feeling on a deck, but Flornoy's (and the printer's) attention to detail has paid off.

Probably my greatest concern with the 78 Noblet has been the "background" color. At first, I had expected the cards to have a "white" background, but learned early on that there would be a spot color to recreate the creamy-white of old-fashioned quality paper stock. The popular Kris Hadar TdM also has a background color used. I knew that this would be picked at the printers, and so I never knew what it was going to look like. I was worried that it would be too dark, or distracting. Thankfully, that worry was unfounded. The background color is very similar to the paper of the 22. In fact, I don't even notice it it, but it works subtly as well, making the items that are white in the deck (some faces, hands, etc...) seem all the more striking.

The colors on the cards is one of the most striking differences between the 78 and the 22. The printing process just simply cannot compete with the vibrancy of gouache colors. Fair enough. The colors on the Noblet 78 are very good though. The red is bold and bloody. The light blue is soft, the green earthy, and the dark blue appropriately royal. The yellow however, is very different than on the 22, and I can't make up my mind which one I prefer. The yellow on the 22 is clean, almost a banana yellow. The yellow on the 78 is more golden. To me, it gives the deck an added "richness" and "elegance". The "flesh" color is also deeper on the 78 than on my 22.

What's perhaps the most wonderful thing of all, (as I sit here writing this with both the 22 and the 78 spilled out before me), is that I can't really tell which is which by just glancing. Several times I've reached for some cards thinking I'm grabbing from one set to find that I actually have the other! THAT is much more than I had hoped for.

On close inspection, (and really, I haven't had much time for that yet), I'm noticing some interesting differences between the two decks. There are color differences, so far, always involving the two darkest colors.. Blue and Green. On the 22, the right post on Le Pendu was blue, now it is green. So is the spine and scythe on Death. I suspect that this is probably due to the difficulty distinguishing these colors on the originals.. which have darkened dramatically. To my eye, when reviewing scans of the originals, these are indeed good choices.

Of course, the great joy of having a 78 card Noblet is having 78 cards! AT LAST! In this, the 22 cannot compete. We've seen the scans from Roxanne of the courts.. with all of their wonderful expressions and postures. The pips are also beautiful. Clean, crisp, but also full of character. The 5 missing cards, the 6 through 10 of Swords, fit seamlessly into the rest of the deck. Unlike some other decks where the artwork seems horribly mismatched with the original (cough.. Visconti... cough), if you didn't know they were originally missing, I bet no one could tell the difference.

So it's here!

Obviously, I'm biased. I've loved the Noblet since I first discovered it a couple of years ago.. thanks to Jean-Claude Flornoy. I'm a big fan of Flornoy's work, and appreciate the quality he puts into is craft. I would have been sorely disappointed if this deck didn't meet the level of quality I had hoped for. In truth, it really has surpassed it. This is a wonderful deck. I hope that those who have shied away from the TdM in the past might find access to it in these wonderful, 350 year old images. For fans of the TdM, this is simply a must have deck. Hopefully, as these decks arrive, others of you will be as happy with it as I am.

Thank you Jean-Claude and Roxanne for bringing this treasure to us!!
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RussianSoul  RussianSoul is offline
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Thank you for the wonderful detailed review, le pendu! It makes waiting easier!
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Paul  Paul is offline
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For those in the States, what has been the waiting period for your deck?
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rox  rox is offline
Join Date: 22 May 2005
Location: France
Posts: 61

Originally Posted by Paul
For those in the States, what has been the waiting period for your deck?

Ordinary air mail from France can take 8 to 10 days. That does seem awfully long. I'm glad Robert finally got the deck, what lovely remarks. I, too, feel that the new cards have the same overall - what can one call it - atmosphere. That was a pleasant surprise.

With respect to the post, France seemed to have all its post offices closed for inventory or something this Monday. Robert's deck was the very first to go off, and by priority mail, but it seems slow to me. If Monday, as well as Sunday and half of Saturday (as is normal) were inert for the post, that can account for some of this snail-pace. Of course, waiting always slows things down too.
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Le Marseillais  Le Marseillais is offline
Join Date: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 91
Le Marseillais 
Cool Comparing Noblet and Heri ?

Hello all,

I am sure that many of us will not resist to temptation to compare both Jean Noblet and François Heri decks coz they are similars on many points.
I suggest that we could open a new Thread with this option.
Frankly, I don't have clear material about Heri deck but no doubt that our Forum will find out sources. ; )

A first exemple of comparaison:

François Heri deck was made in Switzerland circa 1718, so later Noblet deck and I suppose that Heri was informs about Noblet deck.
Chronology would tell us that Noblet (circa 1650) is the real source comparing Heri.
But... is Tarot regulated by chronology. A Metaphysical question isn't it ? : )

Back to comparaison after this (Important) disgression...

Le Bateleur from Heri has a stick in his left hand (right side of the card so,).
Le Bateleur from Noblet has... nothing in his left hand and:
Either let's say "plays" with his fingers, OR had a stick also (half cutted or dammaged), according some Tarot commentators.
Another detail:
On Heri Bateleur we can see a FOUR leaves plant between his legs.
On Noblet Bateleur we see a THREE leaves plant on same location.

Ect.... Ect... See the knife i.e.

Have a Nice Week End to all of you,

Yves Le Marseillais
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prudence  prudence is offline
Join Date: 31 Jan 2005
Location: between two ferns
Posts: 10,202

Thank you, Robert! That review is wonderful!

I can't wait to get my grubby mitts on that deck. Maybe it will arrive today.

((Moonbow*))) I am sorry yours is held up, I hope the stike does not stop it from getting through....or is at least very short lived.
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lark  lark is offline
Just a little prairie faerie
Join Date: 07 Oct 2003
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I wonder if that Dan Guy knows if Tarot Garden is going to carry this deck at some point.
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Bonnie  Bonnie is offline
Join Date: 03 Jul 2004
Location: USA
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Cool The Tarot Garden


I am sure that Dan does know that the Tarot Garden will be representing this deck in the U.S. ;-)

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jackdaw*  jackdaw* is offline
Join Date: 04 Aug 2005
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Mine just arrived in the mail. I'm in shock that it got here so fast!

This deck is a class act. The finish is smooth without being slippery or sticky, the colours are rich. I can really see this deck as it might have been way back when.

Thank you, Rox and Jean Claude!
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