Can anyone identify a Minchiate?


I dug out "The Tarot" by Richard Cavendish earlier today - a nice-sized coffee table book that I got from a local used bookstore but which also abounds on eBay. On the cover, and again in the centre 2 colour plates, are cards from a Minchiate deck. The photo credits cite this deck as "Italian minchiate, made up from three packs, 18th c. (I. 57)" Not sure what the bit in parentheses refers to. End note goes on to say is held by The Trustees of the British Museum, London, and the photo is by Witty.

I then found my copy of "Tarot" by Jane Lyle. It shows the same cards and the same reference (page 127).

I am guessing that the pack or packs is/are incomplete; the centre plates in Cavendish show a total of 32 cards; in neither book could I find a single card that was not included there.

Does anyone know more about this deck? I don't have posting privileges to show you the cards in question.



I have just looked at the two books you mention, and suspect that the Jane Lyle book used as its source the Cavendish book for both the image and the reference.

With regards to the reference provided by Cavendish, I suspect, but cannot be certain as do not have access to my own references at this stage, that the '(I. 57) BM' refers to one of the catalogue references, the 'I' standing therein for 'Italian' (the two main BM catalogues have this nomenclature). The '57' is there a catalogue number, that further suggests it is probably not on display, but part of the documents in storage.

These probably group together what were originally three near identical decks, the difference between the decks not very obvious at all from the images reproduced, but likely clear enough when looking and holding the originals.


Thanks for the help, jmd :) I wondered which book referenced which (didn't think to check the dates for both). I wonder how many more cards are in existence for this deck?


I honestly am not sure, for the books do not give those details - as you know.

Chances are, for the cataloguing to combine three decks suggests that each deck has relatively few cards from the full 97 of a Minchiate.

It would also be wonderful to better ascertain the date of the deck (it may be in the book - have not checked).

Also, by the way, those three decks do not seem to be referenced in the four volumes of Kaplan's Encyclopedia of Tarot, but may simply have missed them during a rather all too brief search.

Moon mind

I own the Minchiatte deck. I got it as a gift. It contains 97 cards. wich includes 12 astrological signs and 4 elements.
major arcana is different from the RSW, it has additional cards and meanings: Time, Hope, Prudence, Faith, Charity.
their are beautiful drawings. i personally don't like the extra meaning cards it can get confusing in readings. i would rate the deck as 6 out of ten.
the book that came with the crads is very brief and is mostly explaining the history of the deck more than meaning of the crads.
this deck is good when you are highly intuitive and know the "widom of tarot' form other sources.
hope this is helpful


Hi Moon mind,

Do you mean you have the deck that's shown in the Lyle and Cavendish books, or that you have "a" Minchiate? Because if it is the one we've been talking about, I would LOVE to know where you got it!!


Thanks for the link, Moon mind. But the deck I was wondering about isn't one of these. I guess it hasn't been reproduced *sigh*


QueenofPenatcles - Funny you should mention the Cavendish book. I see new listings for it almost every day on eBay, and was thinking about getting one. Would you recommend it? You mentioned "the centre 2 colour plates." How many color plates does it have in all? I did a search of the Forum, and surprisingly found no commentary on it at all.



For the pictures alone I would recommend it. I'll have a look at the book when I get home and get back to you, fools_fool.