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François Heri and Jean Noblet Tarots

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François Heri and Jean Noblet Tarots


Sometime in the early 1700s François Heri made a "Tarot of Besançon" (TdB) which shows a strong similarity to the Jean Noblet Tarot from around 1650.

The Encyclopedia of Tarot, Volume II, by Stuart Kaplan shows the deck on page 318.

As typical in a TdB, the Popess and Pope have been replaced with Juno and Jupiter. Also typical is the treatment the Devil card with his hairy legs and minions in profile. The Hermit too, differs from typical TdM iconography. As seen in some other decks, the Sun card has two "towers" on either side.

But the fun part is seeing where Heri and Noblet agree and disagree. One strong similarity is the proportion of the cards themselves... shorter and wider than "typical" TdM cards.

On the Fool, the whole cat/dog/whatever is pictured, but unlike the Noblet, the Fool's genitals are not exposed.

The Bateleur has his hand in tact, but is that a wand? And are the angles the same as the Noblet? Notice the ground also is different. Are those buttons on the front of his clothing?

Like the Noblet, the Emperor looks to the right, but notice the back of the chair behind him.

On the Heri, the faces on the shoulder of the Charioteer are clearly defined.

La Mort is titled La Mort.. like the Noblet!

There's a lot to compare and take in, I'm curious as to what you think? What do you see?

Here's a scan of the Heri page:
http://www.tarothistory.com/images/heri.jpg

And here's the Noblet:
http://www.tarot-history.com/Jean-No...et-page-3.html
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This site also has Noblet images, including the courts.
http://www.rusjoker.ru/WWPCM/decks07/d05925/d05925.htm
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I love you, le pendu. Did I tell you that I love you? This is going to be a great thread!
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I do believe that I have this deck (Besançon). If so, I'll post some scans when I get a few moments.

I have a 2 year old, so don't hold your breath!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinbuddha
I do believe that I have this deck (Besançon). If so, I'll post some scans when I get a few moments.

I have a 2 year old, so don't hold your breath!
Wow! I would love to see scans of the Heri deck. I've got the Besançon from Il Meneghello, but it's not the same. The Heri TdB is the only one that I know of that has the same style as the Noblet. I'd love to see them!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by le pendu
I've got the Besançon from Il Meneghello, but it's not the same.
Well, the one I'm thinking of is an Il Meneghello deck. Maybe it's not the right one.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinbuddha
Well, the one I'm thinking of is an Il Meneghello deck. Maybe it's not the right one.
Ah! I was surprised that the Heri deck was actually in print somehow. I wasn't clear starting this thread... sorry about that!

It's true that the Besançon decks seem to be related to "TdM I" style decks like the Noblet and the Dodal, you're absolutely right about the Il Meneghello deck showing a connection.

What's particularly interesting about the Heri deck however is it goes a step further in the connection.. matching up astonishingly well to the Noblet. So much so, I can't help but think the two decks must be related.

Let me put together an example with one of the cards.

Thanks again for the offer though!
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King of Cups

FIRST ROW
Nicholas Conver (TdM), J.B. Benois (TdB), Jean Dodal (TdM)



SECOND ROW
François Heri (TdB), Jean Noblet (TdM)

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Valet of Swords

FIRST ROW
Nicholas Conver (TdM), J.B. Benois (TdB), Jean Dodal (TdM)



SECOND ROW
François Heri (TdB), Jean Noblet (TdM)

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Before moving on to similarities and details with the Atouts, let's look closely at those Kings and Pages, for they show, to my mind at any rate, why it can be so important to have access to early images.

In 'gross' terms, they all (I mean of the same card) appear ever so similar. The similarity suggests, as far as I'm concerned in this case at least, that the later ones draw on earlier ones as their model - lucky some of the current copyright laws weren't in existence at the time!

What the Heri and the Noblet show, however, is, for example, how that clasp holding the cloak on the King becomes, in the 'newer' decks (Dodal and Conver at least, and lost in the Benois), something rather misunderstood or unclear: is it some kind of 'door' ... or what? The Noblet (as is the Heri) becomes essential in understanding those details and not allow one's flights of fancy take the symbolism beyond its intended meaning - this, of course, does not prevent other meanings arising in the context of a reading!

The Valets similarly shows how clothing details can become lost with time: in this case, the 'pedal-pusher' long-shorts-&-socks with tie become long-johns in the newer decks, and similarly the upper-arm coverings, distinct to the lower-arm ones in the earlier Noblet and Heri designs become rather 'bland' (in comparison) in the 'later' decks of Dodal, Benois and Conver.

Where the Heri is especially useful, however, is also in seeing that the Noblet was not an exceptional singularity, but rather a style that must have had its impact on the design that comes later and further standardises the Marseille-type.

A deck that is well worth looking at in more detail - especially as we now all have access to the image Le Pendu posted of the Heri!
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