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Marseilles Decks


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Ruby7's Avatar
Ruby7  Ruby7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Moonbow*

About 8 months ago I was in the position you are in now. I settled in the end for the Hadar, mainly because I liked the colours, but also because to those of us that do not read french, he has an excellent site with courses available.
Hi Moonbow,

Would you mind posting the site? I am trying to work on my French but in the meantime what you mentioned sounds great! Thanks,

Ruby7
Top   #11
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Ross G Caldwell  Ross G Caldwell is offline
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Overall, looks and feel, the Dusserre Dodal (1701) is certainly my favorite of the Tarot de Marseille style.

I do like the Lo Scarabeo Conver over the Héron in general. It is an edition from the same woodblocks as the Héron, although the deck lacks a 6 of Batons, which they have created from the 7. The booklet says nothing of this, so one does feel ever-so-slightly cheated (there is a discussion of this in the archives - I can't find it). The Lo Scarabeo cards are 65x120mm, which appears to be the original size (given as 64x120 in "Tarot: jeu et magie" (Depaulis)). The Héron, by contrast, is 60x111. Lo Scarabeo is lighter colored than Héron, and more lightly laminated. For me the cards feel more alive. In the Lo Scarabeo deck, finally, there is no museum stamp at the bottom.

The drawback is clearly the lack of the original 6 of Batons (which would be identical to the Héron, were it present).

For French yet non-Marseille decks, I like the Vanderborre and the Vieville. The Vanderborre in particular feels like a veritable 18th century deck. I am sure I would like the Bicentennial Camoin the best, if I had it, since it is printed directly from the 1760 woodblocks. Despite the considerable wear of the wood, this deck would have the ultimate charm of a completely authentic feel, as well as being a classic deck.

If you want to get the Dusserre Dodal, you might have to ask Kenji. He said IIRC that his store still has some in stock. I found him completely charming, industrious and reliable, and it was a real treat to get a parcel from Japan with two beautiful decks inside (also the Tarot de Paris, although I have to say I think the reproduction is less-than-perfect on this one).
Top   #12
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There are three main historical Marseilles designs:

Noblet - circa 1650
Dodal - 1701
Conver - 1760

As will be noted below, in terms of relative numbers, the Conver pattern predominates among those three designs as the basis for Marseilles decks drawn in the 20th century.

There are three main categories of Marseilles decks:

(1) photoreproductions of the actual antique decks

(2) redrawings of the designs of the antique decks, but often with different colour schemes than the original.

(3) Personal interpretations of a hypothetical proto-Tarot

While the photoreproduction deck shows the actual antique deck, redrawings are arguably less 'distracting' (than photoreproductions) for meditation and reading as the lines and colours are more clear.

In terms of Conver, it's good to own at least one photoreproduction and and one redrawing, and it's also fun to have at least one proto-Tarot interpretation deck.


As well, an accurate redrawing deck helps to draw one's attention to details in the reproduction deck that take more effort to discern because of the effect of the ravages of time on the cards of the original antique deck.

Photoreproductions of actual antique Marseille decks

There is no photoreproduction of the antique Noblet commercially available.

For the Dodal, there is the highly recommended Dusserre reproduction of which jmd speaks.

For the Conver, there are two photoreproductions of antique decks printed in 1760: Héron's photoreproduction of the antique deck housed in the National Library [Bibliothèque Nationale] in Paris; and Lo Scarabeo's photoreproduction of the antique deck housed in an Italian museum. Those two museum specimens have different colour schemes. If I had to choose one, I would prefer the Héron to the LS because the Héron has all 78 cards (while LS is missing one of the pips - 6 of Batons and so retouches a 7 of Batons to recreate a 6 of Batons that looks like the 7 of Batons instead of the 1760 6 of Batons) and is less worn-looking. However, I find the colours of the LS more vibrant than the Héron. So it's nice to have both. The fact that there are two colour schemes, even in 1760, tells us not to get too worked up about differences in colour schemes.

For the Conver, there is the Camoin Bicentennial as well. It is a deck that was printed in 1960 (on the bicentennial of the 1760 Conver deck) using the 1760 Conver printers plates but with a limited-colour-variety colour scheme from 1880. The deck shows considerable plate wear.

As well, it's worth noting that the deck contained in the new and inexpensive Lyle 'Tarot Set' is a photoreproduction of the Camoin Bicentennial deck.

Reasonably Faithful Redrawings of the designs of the antique Marseilles decks

The three Flornoy decks are redrawings of the Noblet, Dodal and Conver, respectivley, are excellent decks but are expensive (as they're not mass-market decks) and have only the major arcana. Flornoy endeavours to follow the colour schemes of the Noblet, Dodal and Conver, respectively, housed in French museums. (French National Library / Héron colours in the case of the Conver.) If the Flornoy decks ever became 78-card versions they would be the redrawn Marseilles decks of choice, for me.

Paul Marteau did a faithful redrawing of the 1760 Conver in 1930. However, the Marteau colour scheme is, at the risk of overgeneralization, essentially a colour scheme inspired by but different from the 1880 colour scheme - rather than following any colour scheme from 1760. But, importantly, the linework is accurate, and anyways, there was no one single colour scheme, even in 1760.

The 1880 deck's colour scheme was limited to four colours due to printing technology / economic considerations. Marteau's colour scheme employs seven colours, but a limited number of colours predominate. Comparing the two colour schemes, one sees, for example, that, even within the four colours, Marteau's colour scheme exchanges the colours, e.g., where the 1880 has blue, he may have red, and where the 1880 may have red, he may have blue, etc.

There are two Marteau decks currently available: First, there is Dusserre's photoreproduction of a copy of Marteau's 1930 deck housed in the National Library in Paris. Second, there is the Grimaud Antique Tarot of Marseilles, which is a redrawing of Marteau's redrawing and with colour scheme essentially following the 1930 deck. A problem with recent printings of the Grimaud (e.g., the regular size French-titles Grimaud that I purchased in 2002) is that the blues are much too dark (e.g., you can barely make out the crustacean in the blue water of the Moon card) and it's difficult to tell the yellow colour apart from the flesh colour. The 1930 deck, as photoreproduced by Dusserre, has better colour control and is, in my view, the more 'attractive' of the two Marteau decks.

The Fournier deck is, in effect, a Grimaud clone. Its images are quite faithful to the 1760 Conver, while having a painted look rather than a woodcut look like the Grimaud. In terms of linework, the Fournier is missing the little 'score' lines found in the Grimaud which are replaced by the Fournier's use of shading in the painting. Colourwise, the Fournier has coloured the backgrounds various colours versus the Grimaud's white backgrounds, but otherwise the colour scheme of the Fournier substantially follows the colour scheme of the Grimaud.

The Carta Mundi Tarot of Marseilles (and until recently stocked by US Games, but still available if you look around) is a relatively faithful redrawing of the 1701 Dodal. (Note that the US Games website shows that US Games now carries the AG Müller's so-called 'Convos' Tarot de Marseille instead.) However, it should be noted that its colour scheme is altogether different from the 1701 Dodal (just as the colour scheme of the 1930 Marteau is different from 1760 National Library Conver - although Marteau varies up the colour scheme a lot more than the Carta Mundi). For a 78-card redrawing of the Dodal, the Carta Mundi is the only show in town. It's fun to use it in conjunction with the Dusserre photoreproduction of the 1701 Dodal.

Personal Interpretations of a hypothetical proto-Tarot

There are two: the one by Camoin and Jodorowsky ['Jodo-Camoin'] and the Hadar.

The Jodo-Camoin uses the 1760 Conver linework and the 1760 National Library colours as a starting point from which they add their esoteric innovations in features and (to a limited extent) re-colouring. Thus, it's especially interesting to work with the Jodo-Camoin alongside the Héron. I find the colours of the Jodo-Camoin very vibrant and uplifting and the eyes of the human figures in the major arcana and court cards are very expressive. Sometimes the Jodo-Camoin is criticized because on the basis that a Marseilles deck can't have bright vibrant colours. However, see the Flornoy reproduction of the 1760 Conver, an accurate redrawing where the colours are vibrant! (Remember that the Sistine Chapel frescos, when recently restored, were found to have vibrant colours in place of the sombre colours the unrestored frescoes had. The 1760 deck reproduced by Héron has sombre colours but that's likely because they've faded over the centuries.

The Hadar deck has, of course, its proponents, and I'll leave promotion of the Hadar to them. In terms of colour scheme, it should be noted that, even before the addition of esoteric touches, the Hadar deck (compared to Jodo-Camoin) intentionally departs from the Conver 1760 colour schemes and from any colour scheme in any other antique Marseille deck (but correct me if I'm wrong). However, as there was no one single colour scheme for Conver decks even in 1760, this is not a faux pas: It's just my personal preference to have a deck that follows Héron colours. The Hadar deck's basic line drawings owe something to the 1760 Conver but don't always follow that of the Conver or any other antique tarot. (For instance, the animal in Hadar's Strength card is drawn differently than the animal in the Strength card of Conver or the Dodal. Noblet or some other antique deck, maybe?) Dodal influence is especially apparent in the court cards of the Hadar evidently inspired by the Dodal. Like the Jodo-Camoin (for which Jodorowsky and soon, Camoin, have books), the Hadar deck cries for a companion book to begin to explain the various interpretative choices of the deck creator.

The Jodo-Camoin is criticized for its added various esoteric details, but it should be noted that the Hadar deck could, for equal reason, be criticized as it also has various added esoteric details.

After you've bought every other Marseilles deck I've listed in this review, and only then, should you get a Hadar.
Top   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ruby7
Hi Moonbow,

Would you mind posting the site? I am trying to work on my French but in the meantime what you mentioned sounds great! Thanks,

Ruby7
Here it is Ruby:

www.krishadar.com
Top   #14
Little Baron  Little Baron is offline
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You guys are the best!

Thanks for making this a little easier on the old 'brain', lol.
It would have taken me so long to find out all of this information and through reading on the net, after about four or so reviews, I was just lost.

I will print out this thread and go through it with the 'untrusty crashing' laptop and make a decision. As you said Ruby, once I am familiar with one, in time, I can get to grips with the difference of the others. Right now, there all look a little the same and they all look a little different. After moving through them, I can't remember what I have seen and what I havn't lol. If I walked into a shop and tried to buy one, I think I'd have a panic attack and have to leave, hehe.

I will wait until the Soprafino gets here, have a couple of days of 'ooohhh and ahhhh' and then will get on to the job of finding a Marseilles deck. Looking forward to it. I am in one of those periods that now I have set my mind on getting one, none of the other decks are 'right' for me - "I want the Marseilles", he says, arms folded, looking away from the other thirty or so packs sitting on the shelf.

Thank you all so much. Your posts are invaluable.

Yaboot
Top   #15
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When I bought the Camoin from Camoin House, I also purchased the "woodcut" special edition of the Conver 1760. Is this the same as the Heron? Is Heron the publisher/artist? I've seen Heron Conver, but not sure of deck it references.

I am in process of getting Dodal and Noblet decks.

Of ones I have, I like:

Hadar, Camoin, Grimaud (in that order...although I feel Hadar and Camoin can't really be "compared" in terms of aesthetics and how I read with them).

terri
Top   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by tmgrl2
When I bought the Camoin from Camoin House, I also purchased the "woodcut" special edition of the Conver 1760. Is this the same as the Heron? Is Heron the publisher/artist? I've seen Heron Conver, but not sure of deck it references.
Terri ... No. For details, see my long detailed post above.
Top   #17
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tmgrl2  tmgrl2 is offline
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Thanks, Rusty....I reread your post and printed it out to save. I had skimmed parts I knew. So the Heron is a photoreproduction then. And I have the Bicentennial Conver from Camoin House.

I was going to order the Flornoy Dodal and Noblet decks, but am not sure now. I was awaiting the prices.

Thanks again. This is a good summary to print and keep.

terri
Top   #18
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Thanks Moonbow for the link and thanks to Rusty for that wonderful long detailed post, you certainly made things a lot clearer for me.

Ruby7
Top   #19
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For what it's worth, I would highly recommend Flornoy's reproductions... keep in mind that they are Atouts only.
Top   #20

 

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