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kwaw  kwaw is offline
Join Date: 29 Dec 2003
Location: Nr. Ephesus, Turkey
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Originally Posted by MikeH View Post

On the BM Grand Etteilla, which they date 1800-1850, the dating is as reliable as Willshire. How reliable is that?
1: The deck is described as having an acquisition stamp 1860 (old BM Library stamp 12 April 1860) - so if that is correct then it must be at least 1860 or earlier.

2: Willshire's description of the deck, or one very much like it, appears in A Descriptive Catalogue of Playing and Other Cards in the British Museum by Willshire, W. H., which was published in 1876, so for certain it is pre-1876.

Here is Willshire's description as it appears in his 1876 catalogue:

F. 81.
(Grand Etteilla.)

A SET of emblematic cards based on the designs of the typical tarots, accompanied by a numeral series, the whole being equal in number to the earlier Venetian sequence of seventy-eight pieces. The marks of the suits of the numerals are batons, coupes, epees, and deniers. The coate-cards have on them whole-length figures holding in their hands the signs of their suits.

This set of cards is designed and arranged for the purposes of divination. It is accompanied by a book of explanations and directions, bearing the title: " Maniere de tirer. Le Grand Etteilla ou tarots Egyptiens. Paris, chez tous les marchands des nouveautes."

In the " Notions Preliminaires " with which the book commences, it is stated that I'art de tirer les tarots, or the Egyptian cards, is an agreeable science and of exciting interest, but that its results become serious or recreative, miraculous or frivolous, in a ratio with the greater or less degree of faith possessed by those who resort to it. It is a pursuit that merits especially the confidence of amateurs, particularly female ones, who are so partial to secrets.

Directions then having been given pour tirer les tarots, the meanings of the latter are explained under seventy-eight heads, and then follow the details necessary to elicit these meanings, and certain other values appertaining to the numeral series.

All the card-pieces in the set are numbered consecutively from one, Etteilla questionnant, to seventy-eight, Folie, which seems to correspond to the Fou or Misero of the older tarots. The designs of the emblematic series of this set are much modified in several instances by Etteilla's interpretation of the older type, as is likewise the order of the sequence. Nos. 1 and 2, the questionnant and feu, may be said to be equivalent to No. 19, Le Soleil, of the ordinary series.

{Here a list of the Trumps with Wilshire’s suggestions of their relation to TdM trumps}

The designs on these emblematic pieces are mostly full-length figures, and subjects simulating more or less the typical tarots. and are often accompanied by astronomic or astrologic signs. Above and below each design is a title, e. g. on No. 5 is Voyage at the top and Terre at the bottom of the card ; on No. 11 is La Force above and [Le Souverain below. Each card is numbered twice, viz. at opposite corners diagonally and in reverse like Spanish cards.

The king and queen are seated and wear crowns, the cavalier is mounted, the valet is on foot. Each personage carries a long wand or staff. Each honour has two titles. Above the king of batons is Homme de campagne, below, Homme bon et severe. Above the queen is Femme de campagne, below. Bonne Femme. On the cavalier is depart and desunion. On the valet is etranger and nouvelle. The honours of the other suits have like titles of various import.

The marks of the suits are placed in proper number on either blue or green coloured grounds, below the compartments containing which are bright yellow squares, some of them having within astrologic and other symbols or small emblematic figures; other yellow compartments are void of all marks. Each of the pip cards has an upper and lower title printed in reverse like the honours. On the eight of deniers, e. g., is Fille Brune above, and plus below. On each of the marks of the suit, here coloured pink on a green ground, is (Omega)*. On the lower and yellow division of the piece is a crescent moon with Venus by her side. On the aces are always a human hand and part of the arm, the former holding up a large symbol of the particular suit. In the ace of deniers the hand bears a figure of Apollo with a radiant sun above his head, while below in the yellow compartment is a circle for the mark of the suit.

These cards are all neatly engraved and coloured, some of the numeral series being particularly clear and distinct. The backs are ornamented with pink dots. [41/2" X 23/8"] [Backs decorated]

end quote


*Note re: (Omega), he has confused the astrological symbol for Caput Draconis with the Greek letter Omega.
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