Etteilla Timeline and Etteilla card Variants - background


timeline 1784-1810

Thanks for the reference, Huck [edited 7-1611, after rereading; I originally wrote "Mary"]. I will read it.

I have rewritten the entries for 1782 and 1783 slightly, giving the full quote from DDD in 1782 and mentioning that the 3rd Cahier has Prudence as its frontispiece and 1st Cahier has Temperance.

I am now moving on to 1784 and after, going as far as 1810. Again, DDD means Decker, Dummett, and Depaulis, Wicked Pack of Cards. Mostly what I am doing is condensing the relevant pages, and putting the material in chronological order. I have interjected events in French history gleaned from Wikipedia.

(Added 9/1/12: I have now added to the entry to 1793 and added entries for 1800 and 1809, based on new research by Huck.)

1784. May 19. Etteilla publishes the Supplement au troisieme cahier (Supplement to the 3rd Cahier). (DDD p. 84)

1785, 30 Jan. Cagliostro installed in Paris, promoting his “Egyptian Rite” and conducting healings and seances, to great popular acclaim. 23 Aug, he is arrested and imprisoned in the Bastille because the con artist Jeanne de Saint-Remy of being part of the "diamond necklace" swindle. 30 May 1786, he is judged innocent but is banished from France by the King and his seized goods not returned. He goes to London, Basle, and Rome, where the Inquisition condemns him to death for heresy. The Pope changes this to life imprisonment; Cagliostro dies in prison 1795. (Dates in Gervaso's Cagliostro p. 122, 147, 239.)

1785. Etteilla publishes mumerous books: Fragment sur les hautes sciences, suivi d’une note sur les trois sortes de medicines donnees aux hommes (Fragment on High Sciences, followed by a note on the three kinds of medicines given to men). 4th Cahier (with Fortitude as frontispiece). Supplement to the 4th Cahier. 2nd Cahier (with Justice as frontispiece). Supplement to the 2nd Cahier. Philosophie des hautes sciences, ou la clef donnee aux enfans de l’art, de la science & de la sagesse (Philosophy of the high sciences, or the key given to children of art, science and wisdom). (DDD p. 84). In the 2nd Cahier (see my translations in this thread), he talks about the cards as the Book of Thot, put together under the supervision of Hermes Trismegistus. The 2nd through 8th cards represent the days of creation. He also gives complete correspondences between the Marseille tarot trumps and his “Egyptian” ones and describes some of the trumps in detail. The 4th Cahier is where he sets up correspondences between the 12 signs of the zodiac, in order starting with Aries, and the first 12 of his trumps. He also has the 10 Coin pip cards correspond to the 7 planets plus the head and tail of the dragon and the part of fortune. He attributes these assignments to the Egyptians (DDD p. 87).

1786. Supplement au deuxieme cahier, ou mieux cinquieme livre des tarots (Supplement to the 2nd cahier, or better 5th book of the tarots). (DDD p. 84)

c. 1786. A treatise on alchemy: Les sept nuances de l’oeuvre philosophique-hermetique, suivies d’un traite sur la perfection des metaux (The seven grades of the philosophical-Hermetic work, followed by a treatise on the perfection of metals). “Historians of alchemy regard Etteilla’s book as the last alchemical treatise of the classical period” (DDD p. 88; they cite the 20th century writer Conseliet).

1787. Two books unrelated to tarot. The title of one may be translated as The art of knowing men by inspecting the forehead, or elements of metposcopy according to the ancients. The other is The art of reading in the lines and charaacters that are in the palms, or elements of chiromancy. (DDD p. 88)

1787. Invited to speak to the “Philelethes,” which had been founded in 1775 and was a Masonic-like secret society. Etteilla in his Treatise on the Perfection of Metals had said he had the highest regard for “true Masonry,” but “All the little denominations of lodges and grades announce folly more than wisdom.” (DDD p. 89)

1788. Organizes the “Societe des Interpretes du Livre de Thot,” in order to gather together all those who were interested in the ‘interpretation of the Book of Thot,” with Etteilla as “correspondent general.” Etteilla designs his 78 card deck, raises funds, has the engravings made. (DDD p. 90)

1789. Etteilla applies for a “general” patent to print his deck on 19 Jan. 1789, granted 5 Feb. 1789, registered on 13 March (DDD p. 92). A 4 page pamphlet entitled “Livre de Thoth” dated 1789 says, “See the Book of Thoth, which I am permitted to publish today, with the King’s appointment.” Also establishing Etteilla’s involvement with this deck are copies, made by their author, of letters written in Lyons by De Bonrecuille, one of the “interpretes.” On 27 November he writes to Alliette: ‘I am very glad to hear that we will soon have the Tarot cards you have restored.’ Then on 14 March 1789: “We very satisfactorily have received the Tarot cards which you sent us...” (DDD p. 91) The keywords for the suits derive in part from Etteilla’s 1770 book. Cards 2-5 each have the name and number of one of the 4 elements, not in sequence; cards 2-8 say which of the 7 days of creation relates to the card, not in sequence. DDD say that these cards are precisely like the reprints issued by Grimaud later except for the sunburst in card 1 and the clothing on the small figures in card 14. Also the keywords are in many cases different from the current Grimaud. Later they mention extra numbers on cards 13-17: a 14 on card 13, a 15 on card 14, a 16 on card 15, a 17 on card 16, and a 13 on card 17 (DDD p. 93). These numbers are also not on reprints done in the later 19th century onwards. What are these extra numbers for? DDD say that according to the Dictionnaire Synonymique of 1790, they are "signs of death." Reading the 2nd Cahier Supplement of 1786, I see that Etteilla says of the double numbering on 13-17, that it indicates "the chain from birth to death" (p. 162: "la chaîne de la naissance à la mort"). For more details see my post at

1789, May. National Assembly declared, inaugurating the French Revolution. Bastille prison stormed 14 July.

1789. Hugand, one of the “Interpretes,” publishes in Lyons a leaflet called Faites mieux, j’y consens, ou les instructions d’Isis divulguees par un electeur de la Commune de Lyon, en l’annee 1789 (Do better, I agree, or Isis’ instructions divulged by a voter of the City of Lyons, in the year 1789). (DDD p. 100f)

1790. M. D’Odoucet, another member of the “Interpretes,” publishes a booklet entitled “French Revolution, the events that have caused it, accompanied it and those which will follow it, prognosticated through Mr. M. Nostradamus’s prophetical ‘centuries’, which has a final footnote that “expresses negative feelings for two magi living in France, one in Paris and the other in Lyons.” DDD say that one is Etteilla, and the other a follower named Hugand. D’Odoucet calls the one a “half-savant” of “real ignorance, concealed with much art.” The other is less skilled. (DDD pp. 103f). D’Odoucet also puts his name to a leaflet promoting a forthcoming journal; the leaflet ends “AMOUR POUR LE ROI,” i.e. Love for the King.

1790. 1 July. Etteilla founds, with his son’s participation, the “Nouvelle Ecole de Magie” (New School of Magic), on “le premier juillet de la seconde annee de la liberte francaise,” as a July 19 leaflet for a lecture announced: the first July of the second year of French liberty. The Ecole publishes Cours theorique et pratique du livre de Thot (In full: Theoretical and practical course in the book of Thot, so as to understand correctly the art, science, and wisdom of giving oracles). 6 lessons are planned, but all the copies have only 4 (DDD p. 95). Another book is “The Game of Tharaoth, following one of the ways of the first Egyptians.” Another is a leaflet Appercu sur la lnouvelle ecole de magie..., in which Etteilla refers to D’Odoucet as “Dodo” and writes mockingly of him. (DDD pp. 95, 104)

1791. The Ecole publishes a 4 page pamphlet every week from 1 Jan. To 27 March, then 4 more. Issue one is devoted to a plan for old-age insurance. Others are on admnistration, social insurance, and against the death penalty. No. 14 calls for the abolishing of taxes on playing cards, or at least divinatory ones, e.g. “the Book of Thoth, renewed from the Egyptian, and the Etteila, composed of 33 cards.” This last is what became known as the “Petit Etteilla”; the French card images are in the middle of each card and the keywords from Etteilla’s 1770 book above and below. Etteilla also reissues his 1783 L’homme a projets, “proudly stating in its forward,” DDD report, “that he had foreseen the 1789 events some six years ago.” Another publication is Etteilla, ou l’art de lire dans les cartes/ (DDD p. 95f) (I cited pp. 7-17 in my previous post; it also contains a summary of ways of reading the cards. This publication is reprinted with France Carte’s current reprint of the “Petit Etteilla.”)

1791, 22 June. King and Queen of France arrested following their flight from the Tulleries Palace, returned under guard.

1791, 30 Sept. In Vienna, premier of Mozart’s Magic Flute, an opera using Egyptian-style Masonic initiations. Hundreds of performances in the 1790s. It had been preceded by the collaboratively written Philosophe’s Stone of 1790.

1791, Lyons. Hugand publishes Cartomancie, our l’art de developper la chaine des evenements de la vie: recreations astrologiques par le livre de Thot. (DDD p. 101)

1791. Dictionnaire synonymique du livre de Thot published anonymously but probably written by Joubert de La Salette, an army officer then stationed in Grenoble. His name is mentioned as author of such a work by another student, de Bonrecueille. The author himself says he “lives in a village” and is “joined to considerable details related to the troops of whom I am in command.” In its “Preliminary discourse,” the author says that he was preceded “in the same undertaking” by another member, M. Jejalel (Hugand’s “Cabalistic” name). He also mentions that another member, M. de B., is occupied with the same task. The core of the book, DDD write (p. 110), is its ‘Table-des-synonymes de livre de Thot,’ pp. 19-57, following Etteilla’s order of the cards and their keywords.

1791. 13 December. Etteilla dies, age 53, leaving his son, his widow, and his companion of his later years Elizabeth. He also leaves, as he said in the forward to L’homme a projets, 500 students, of whom 150 became professional cartomancers, but only two were really good; “all the others are charlatans”. One is Hisler, who lived in Berlin. The other is Hugand, in Lyons. But the one taking over, at least in the short term, and acting as publisher, is D’Odoucet, as letters by other followers make clear. (DDD p. 100)

1792. August, King and Queen of France imprisoned. September, monarchy declared abolished.

1793. German translation of Cours theorique et pratique du livre de Thot, in Leipzig. (DDD p. 100). Also in 1793, per DDD’s dating (p. 113), an Etteilla deck with German keywords, elements, and days of creation, in script at top and bottom. Hand colored. The bottom keywords on the first 12 cards are printed right-side up. Card One has “Etteilla” and “Forschung” (Search) as keywords. Otherwise the cards are identical to the original 1789 deck, including the astrological signs and the extra numbers on cards 13-17. The publisher in Leipzig is Baumgärtner. For colored pictures of the first page, as well as some cards, see, top of page.) (Kaplan, vol. 2 p. 401, says erroneously that the designs are like the Lismon decks. Pictures of the cards are on his p. 402.) These cards are issued again in 1857 (DDD p. 114).

1793. January 20, King Louis XVI executed. Committee of Public Safety takes power, instituting “Reign of Terror.” October, Queen Marie Antoinette executed.

March 1494. Hugand’s Art of Life, or Complete Lesson for reading the Book of Thoth advertised for sale in Paris, probably a reissue of his Lyons booklet. Also publishes with his real name a booklet {i]Les decans francais: meditations politiques, morales, pour chaque jouir de l’anneee (French decans: political and moral meditations for each day of the year. After 1494 there is no trace of Hugand. (DDD pp. 102f)

1794, July. Robespierre and other members of the Committee of Public Safety executed.

1797-1808. D’Odoucet imprisoned several times and under surveillance often, for anti-government printing activities. (DDD p. 104ff)

1799. Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt, which includes artists and scientists. Upon his November return, he becomes First Consul of France in a coup. Proclaimed Emperor in 1804.

1800, Jan. 19. Advertisement for "Petit Oracle des Dames" in Paris. No author or publisher given, but the address, "rue du Coq-Héron, maison de France" is the same as for other publications of Jacques Grasset de Saint-Sauveur. (See Huck's research at See also entries here for 1807 and 1809.) DDD p. 143 give for this title and date the publisher "Mme. Finet", with 36 cards. Their references (footnote 3, p. 282), are Depaulis, Les Cartes de la Revolution 1984 no. 1321984, Hoffmann & Kroppenstedt, Wahrsagencarte 1972 no. 68; Hoffmann and Dietrich Tarot - Tarock - Tarocchi 1988 no. 105; and Depaulis Mademoiselle Lenormand 1989, nos. 100, 101, and 102.

1802. According to Huck at, based on Guillaume Fleischer, Annuare de la Librarie, Premiere Annee, at necromancien&f=false, "Petit Oracles des Dames" is now published by Gueffier jeune.

1804. D’Odoucet publishes vol. 1 of Sciences des signes, ou medecine de l’esprit; it is similar to Etteilla’s Cours theorique et pratique. (DDD p. 106)

1805. Dec. 2. Battle of Austerlitz, Napoleon’s greatest military victory, defeating a combined Austrian-Russian army.

1806 or 1807. D’Odoucet publishes Vol. 2 of Science des signes. DDD say (p. 107)
The second more concerned with the Tarot and is clearly inspired by the Dictionnaire synonimique (1791) of which it is a kind of summary. But it also offers seventy-eight Tarot woodcuts in the texts with due comments. It only shows some minor divergences, e.g. when the Dictionnaire says “Questionnant”, D’Odoucet uses ‘Consultant.’
Since D’Odoucet uses woodcuts, he must not have had access to the original copper plates.

1807. Vol. 3 of Science des Signes. The full title, or most of it, translates as follows: Science of signs, or mind medicine, containing 1st, The understanding of numerical and astral sciences of the first Egyptians. 2nd The art of knowing the heart of man through his external signs; 3rd, An interesting survey of the diversity of minds and characters; 4th, The true origin of Freemasonry and initiation to the different ranks, third and last part, illustrated and engraved by M. D’Odoucet, one of the interpreters of the book of Thot, possessor of the collection [fonds] of Etteilla, his collaborator and continuator of his works. The book has a copper engraving showing a Masonic allegory with two pillars and bearing D’Odoucet’s name ('D’Odoucet invenit’) together with the signature of the engraver: “De Bonrecuille Scripts.” De Bonrecuille, another long-time disciple, was a known Mason. (DDD p. 107f)

1807. Per DDD p. 143, a “Petit Oracle des Dames”, is published by the veuve (widow) Gueffier, 42 cards, with designs that are partly from a 66 card fortune-telling pack of about 1790 and partly from Etteilla’s tarot pack. It had an 82 p. book of instructions, per Kaplan (vol 1 p. 157). Kaplan dates it to 1815 and has pictures. Some of Etteilla’s designs for trumps are here associated with suit cards, small images of which are put in the left bottom corners. (These images are similar in style to those of Grasset de Saint-Sauver and his associates. See entry here for 1800 ; also 1809.)

1808. Imperial decree now requires the licensing of printers. D’Odoucet is not among those granted a license and there is no further trace of him.

1809. Blocquel and Castiaux, in Lille, publish a booklet with all 42 images of the "Petit Oracle des Dames" deck, but with an unrelated text. (See also entries for 1800 and 1809.)

1810. “Nouvel Etteilla” or “Petit Necromancien” deck produced by publisher Robert in Paris, 36 cards, with a one-word title on top. Uses 8 of Etteilla’s figures. (DDD p. 144)


timeline 1814-1911

Here is the conclusion to my timeline. I am incorporating material from Cerulean earlier in the thread. Please let me know any errors or unsubstantianted claims. Again, the historical notes come from Wikipedia.

1814. Napoleon exiled to Elba, Louis XVII installed as King of France. Napoleon escapes in 1815, defeated at Waterloo, exiled to island of St. Helena, where he dies in 1821.

1814. First book by Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand, to be followed by many more over the next 20 years (this book is in Google Books at,834,300&source=bookclip#v=onepage&q&f=false.) These books recount clairvoyancy rather than a method of card-reading, but they did much to popularize fortune-telling, including the use of cards. The Etteilla School did not hesitate to associate themselves with her; the author of the c. 1838-1840 book listed below, for example, is called “the Sibylle du faubourg Saint-Germain,” which is what Lenormand was called (DDD p. 147).

[1817 and 1823 are added from Kwaw's post at, at which are more details.]

1817, February, Gueffier jeune acquires the the remaining few examples of the Book of Thoth, published by Etteilla, consisting of several volumes and a deck of 78 cards with symbolic figures:

Livre du Thot, a 4 in 1 volume.
Du Dictionnaire synonymique du livre de Thot (In a 1827 listing Petieux has the rights to this).
Du Cours pratique da livre de Thot
Grand Jeu, consisting of 78 cards, with hieroglyphic figures.
price 36-0 (Or the game of cards sold separately, price 9-0)

To be found from the same address :
le Petit Oracle des Dames composed of 42 cards, enclosed in a case with instructions. price 3-0
Le Petit Eteilla, composed of 33 cards, enclosed in a case with instructions, and a book of dreams for the lottery. 3-0
L ‘Introduction à la fortune, ou l’Art de corriger ses défauts à la loterie; avec les Reves, etc. 4-0

The acquisition is published under a notice of a transfer of funds (Mutations de Fonds), which implies the acquisition of the commercial rights (including for example publishing rights).

1823. M. Peytieux, libraire, passage du Caire, n.121, à Paris, purchases the rights and remaining stock of Le Petit Oracle des Dames & Le Veritable Etteilla from Gueffier jeune.

1826. Pierre Mongie l’aine (the elder) publishes Etteilla’s deck from the original copper plates, altered to erase the astrological symbols in the corners. To most of the trumps, court cards and Aces, it adds new titles in cursive script, inside the picture frame, of a Masonic or Biblical flavor, such as “Hiram’s Masonry” for card 2 or “Solomon” for card 8. On card 1, instead of “Etteilla” and “Questionnant” it has “L’Homme qui consulte” both top and bottom (Kaplan vol. 2 p. 400f). There is also a book, The art of reading cards and tarots or French, Egyptian, Italian and German Cartomancy. The author, given as “Aldegonde Perenna, Polish sibyl,” is actually Gabrielle de Paban, cousin of editor and collaborator Collin de Plancy. In an introductory essay, de Plancy says that the 1200 pages of Etteilla’s two large volumes contain nothing but astrological fantasies; the present work, by contrast, is at least clear. Its section on “Egyptian tarots” was reprinted numerous times by Grimaud to accompany its reprints of Etteilla’s deck (DDD pp. 144-147). Its 1969 deck, which showed keywords in both English and French, offered an English translation of this booklet, 118 pp.

[The next entry, for 1827, is due to Kwaw at]

1827, Gueffier jeune is still listed as selling the Grand Etteilla, consisting of several volumes and deck for 36fr, or 9fr for the cards alone.

1830, July Revolution in Paris establishes constitutional monarchy, with election of Louis-Philippe as king.

1838 or possibly earlier [this is a change, added Dec. 2, 2015, from my original "1838-1840", thanks to Kwaw at Simon Blocquel publishes a new version of Etteilla’s deck, with the title “Grand livre de Thot.” In the current classification of Etteilla decks, this style is the “Grand Etteilla II.” Titles are printed on both sides of the picture frame. Some images and keywords are different from Etteilla’s original deck. The Ace of Batons puts Etteilla’s reversed keyword on top and vice versa. There is also a 212 page book, Le Grand Etteilla. Art de tirer les cartes et de dire la bonne aventure, attributed to one “Julia Orsini,” with illustrations of all the cards. Place of publication is “chez Delarue, Libraire, Quai des Augustins, 11” in Paris, and “chez Blocquel-Castiaux, editeur” in Lille. A Delarue at some point became Blocquel’s son-in law. Blocquel and Castiaux habitually used "anagrammatic synonyms such as Blismon, Z. Lismon, Zlismon, Buccellos, Milbons and Monblis" (DDD p. 147). “Julia Orsini” is a pseudonym, too (of Blocquel, Kwaw points out ( The name probably derives from Pope Alexander VI’s mistress, of that name. DDD (p. 147) say the "Orsini's" date of publication is “1838 or a trifle earlier.” Booksellers at the Abe Books website give c. 1840. That date is consistent with one of the works in the book’s bibliography, estimated on Worldcat to have been published c. 1840 (details in a previous post in this thread). But Kwaw gives an 1838 source listing the book, as well as another, from 1843-1857, giving the publication date of the book as 1838. The book (an original is at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas) contains explications of all the cards, four ways of doing readings, a list of typical questions that the cards will answer, an account of the game of tarot (not a reprint of the 1659 rules, but something even harder to follow), and a long section of “synonyms and alternative meanings,” presumably derived from de La Sallette or D’Odoucet. It uses the term “Questionnant” rather than “Consultante.”

1840. Baptiste-Jean Grimaud arrives in Paris at age 23 (Corodil at, drawing on an article in the review "As de Trèfle"). In 1848, Grimaud buys the workshop of cartier Arnould ( In 1851 he forms the société Grimaud & Cie. with two partners, and in 1858 signs a contract with inventor Firmin Chappellier so as to print cards industrially, making cards with rounded metallic corners (see Corodil). This firm will be one known for its reprints of Etteilla decks and booklets. Grimaud is still allowed to say the firm started in 1748 (and does so on numerous Marseille-style 2 of Coins), but there aren't really any cards bearing the Grimaud name before 1851, or machine-made Grimaud cards before 1858. (Kaplan, vol. 2 p. 203 and 211, is to that extent wrong when he says "...B. P. Grimaud, begun in 1748" (my thanks to Corodil for spotting the error in my original timeline entry, which had him starting in 1748).) The "1748" date is important because after 1817, government regulations in France greatly limited firms' access to the market, in effect creating a closed market (marché fermé), a situation which lasted until 1945 (

1843. “Jeu de la Princesse” deck appears as book illustrations; it is an Etteilla style deck in which some of the designs are more Egyptian looking than his. The titles are at the bottom of the cards, as in the Marseille. Some titles are taken from the 1826 deck. The book is reprinted in 1850. A deck appears in 1864, with many titles changed. The accompanying book says that Princess Tarot was a great prophetess of Thebes and Memphis. Starting in 1876 (Tarotpedia,, the deck is put out by Charles Watilliaux, active until 1908 (DDD p. 150). Besides Dusserre’s 1983 reprint, there is one called Cartomanzia Italiana put out by Edizioni del Solleone in 1983 ( and one by Lo Scarabeo (

1848. 2nd Republic established in France, electing Louis Napoleon as President. 2md Republic becomes 2nd Empire in an 1852 coup, with Louis Napoleon, nephew of Napoleon I, as Emperor Napoleon III.

1850-1890 [Added Dec. 2, 2015], According to the BnF, a "Grand Etteilla" they have is dated in this range, published by Delorme. It is a stenciled woodcut version of the "Grand Etteilla II" deck.

c. 1853. Second printing, with minor revisions, of L’art de tirer les cartes by “Julia Orsini.” (This date appears in the bibliography of Tarot of the Bohemians as translated by A.E. Waite., 2nd and 3rd editions). The “explications” section of this book is the basis of (but not identical to) the Little White Book to the current Editions Dusserre Tarot Egyptien: Grand Jeu du Oracle des Dames deck, even though that deck’s pictures often do not fit the descriptions in the book. That deck is a “Grand Etteilla III,” while the book was written for a “Grand Etteilla II.” Editions Dusserre provides an English translation on facing pages; its total number of pages, including both English and French, is 112.

1860 or earlier. [This part revised Dec. 9, 2015, stimulated by Kwaw's searches of the BnF (Bibliotheque Nationale) and BM (British Museum) databases] Someone starts reprinting Etteilla’s original deck, except that they add a sunburst on card 1. done as in the modern Grimaud, and clothing on the small figures of card 14. Unlike modern Grimaud (at least from 1969) these retain the two numbers on cards 13-17. It is not known when the changes (sunburst and clothing) started. One example at the BM is listed as "1800-1850", has a museum stamp used until 1560, and is reviewed in Willshire's 1876 museum catalog. Another example is from the publisher Pussey and is dated by the BnF as 1880-1890. In that the body of water on card 3 is green rather than Grimaud's blue, it is much like a deck dated by Associazione Le Tarot as "beginning of the 19th century"; but this dating is not secure). The BM's card 3 has blue water. At the BnF is a Grand Etteilla I published by "Grimaud et Chartier", c. 1890, and also a Lequart et Mignot. also c. 1890 According to an As de Trefle article quoted by Corodil at, in 1890-91 Grimaud bought out two firms that had published divinatory decks, Pussey and Lequart et Mignot. The implication is that 1890 is when Grimaud started publishing the Grand Etteilla I.

1856 or earlier [this entry revised Dec. 12, 2015 based on Kwaw at]. Delarue puts out Tarot Egyptien: Grand Jeu du Oracle des Dames deck, per DDD p. 149 designed by G. Regamey, originally printed by chromo-lithography by Hangard-Mauge. DDD guve 1867 as the date, but Kwaw points out that the BnF gives their copy a date of 1856 and shows it advertised in the July 5, 1856, issue of ""Feuilleton du Journal de la Librairie" This style of card is generally referred to as “Grand Etteilla III.” Many of the trump figures are derived from the 15th century Nuremburg Chronicle(see link posted earlier in this thread). The booklet appears to be--if a copy described by Cerulean in this thread is authentic--a radical revision of the “Julia Orsini” explications; the descriptions of the cards fit the new pictures. Google Books has put a photocopy of the booklet, called "Les Récréations de la cartomancie" online, dating it to 1850. However at the end of the booklet there is an advertisement for a book showing how to address petitions to His Majesty the Emperor. This would be Napoleon III, who assumed that title in Dec. of 1852. These advertisements also show that the cards themselves were published with the booklet, using the relatively new (invented 1837, per Wikipedia) technology of chromo-lithography..

1870, July. Napoleon III deposed after French defeat in Franco-Prussian War. 3rd Republic established, which lasts until 1939. Replaced by 4th Republic in 1946, and the Fifth Republic in 1958.

1890-1917. The tax stamp that was abolished in 1790 for playing cards returns in 1890, lasting until 1917 (Kaplan vol. 2). Examples of Etteilla decks with this stamp are at a Grimaud Etteilla I, a crudely machine-colored Etteilla II by Lismon, and two lithographed Etteilla IIIs from Delarue. Lismon was originally a trade name of Blocquel’s according to DDD; de la Rue is Bloquel’s son in law. Whether these particular decks were actually done by these companies (Lismon/Delarue) or some other is unknown. The Lismon of this vintage included an abridged version of “Julia Orsini’s” c. 1838 explications. In my xerox, there are 78 numbered pp. and about 26 unnumbered ones. The Grimaud had the “Egyptian” part of the 1826 book, 168 pp.

c. 1906. (Date is per Book in Spanish by “Dr. Moorne,” El supremo arte de echar las cartas, to accompany a Spanish version of the Grand Etteilla III, in which the pictures are on the right, and on the left a Hebrew letter and other symbols. The deck probably existed in the 19th century, and had Italian as well as Spanish examples (DDD p. 114f). The book’s expositions are in part derivative from the earlier French booklets. An odd feature is that Etteilla’s “days of creation” are applied to the cards in sequence, card 1 for the first day, card 2 for the second, and so on for the 7 days of creation (at least in the version at The result is that what is pictured on the card usually has little to do with the day of creation as Etteilla characterized it.

1909. Papus publishes Le Tarot Divinatoire, which includes the Etteilla lists of synonyms and alternative meanings, but keeps the Marseille order of the trumps. He says that his lists come from Etteilla and D’Odoucet. (Papus’s book also has other interpretations, Paul Christian’s and his own.)

1910. A. E. Waite draws extensively from the Etteilla School’s word lists in his Pictorial Key to the Tarot, less systematically than Papus, but still around 30-50% of the time, and without giving Etteilla credit (see Judging by certain choices of words, Waite’s source would appear to be the c. 1853 “Julia Orsini,” the one in the bibliography he provided for Papus’s Tarot of the Bohemians; but I have not given this idea a thorough test.

Waite and Papus became immensely influential over the course of the 20th century. Dr. Moorne continued to be popular in Spanish-speaking countries. In this way Etteilla’s divinatory meanings, if not his deck, are now more influential than ever in the world of cartomancy.


You might want to check out this booK

for Cagliostro and the Egyptian rite:

I don't have a good grasp of the dating details, but one reference in the book is January 1785 for Cagliostro and his wife in Paris. If someone has a Cagliostro timeline, some people who read the book or who know their occult history could probably tell you guys better about the date of Cagliostro's trips or trip to Paris.

Phillipa Faulks suggests there are inconsistencies between Balsamo and Cagliostro's reputations, but the analytical focus of her book is on examining the merits Egyptian Rite--that is, from my quick look back at the text. The index is good, but I don't know really what to look for beyond the two or three referenced mentions of Balsamo's reputation and rumor that Cagliostro and Balsamo are two different or two same people.


It seems there is some question whether Balsamo (who arrived in Paris in 1771) and Cagliostro were the same man. It also seems as though the Egyptian Rite was not brought to France until later. I'll have to look into this further.



MikeH said:
1748. B.P. Grimaud established as cardmaker in Paris. (Kaplan vol. 2 p. 211). This firm will be one known for its reprints of Etteilla in the 19th century.

This information is not correct.

Baptiste Paul grimaud went to Paris at the beginning of the years 1840, he was then 23 years old.
He creates Grimaud & Cie on the 12 June 1851 after he bought Arnould in 1848.

Informations from L'As de Trèfle - Numéro hors série - 10/98 - page 5 and from the history section of France Cartes:

Best regards


Thanks for the reference, Cerulean. I will try to get the book from a library.

Coredil wrote

Originally Posted by MikeH
1748. B.P. Grimaud established as cardmaker in Paris. (Kaplan vol. 2 p. 211). This firm will be one known for its reprints of Etteilla in the 19th century.
This information is not correct.

Baptiste Paul grimaud went to Paris at the beginning of the years 1840, he was then 23 years old.
He creates Grimaud & Cie on the 12 June 1851 after he bought Arnould in 1848.

Informations from L'As de Trèfle - Numéro hors série - 10/98 - page 5 and from the history section of France Cartes:

Best regards

Kaplan, vol. 2 p. 211, makes a distinction between "B.P. Grimaud" which he says started in 1748, and "Grimaud & Co.," which he says started in 1858. It is not a misprint, because he says (in 1986) the same thing about B.P. Grimaud on p. 203: "In France, the firm of J. M. Simon is the successor to B. P. Grimaud, begun in 1748." He says in a footnote on p. 211 that his information on "B. P. Grimaud" was confirmed by "Martine Baudin of Ets. J.M. Simon." Kaplan also gives 17 other references. (On the other hand, in exhibiting Grimaud decks, he systematically ignores any distinction between "B. P. Grimaud" and "Grimaud & Cie."

Yet you might be right in your information. After all, why would the blank card of my modern Grimaud Grand Etteilla say "With the compliments of Grimaud France Manufacturers of Playing Cards since 1790" if one of its firms was founded in 1748? But then why 1790? Kaplan has no "Arnould," but has 1750 for "Arnoult" (confirmed by Baudin and three reference works). So perhaps they can claim "1748" because that's when Arnoult started his company (as opposed to 1750 when he produced his first cards). But then why "1790" on my deck?

Perhaps it can't say "since 1748" because it only bought "Grimaud & Cie." and not "B.P. Grimaud," which was already out of business (in 1950, per Kaplan) by the time J.-P Simon (or someone) bought out Grimaud & Cie. If so, why does my deck say "since 1790" if Grimaud & Cie. started in 1858?

I am very confused. Before I change my entry, could you tell me how to get to the France Cartes history section? All I can reach from your link is a page for the Grimaud part of their empire, and no further links. And do you have an As de Trefle image (or any other card, even a blank one) that says on it "B.P. Grimaud" (as opposed to "Grimaud & Cie.") and gives a start date for that firm? (Not that it would prove anything, but it would be interesting.)

Meanwhile I will keep searching. Independently of your post, I have been trying to reconstruct a history of the two Grimauds and not getting very far. I did find an article from L'Express describing the current owners of France Cartes, an emigre family from Romania, which bought it from a German firm that had bled it dry, or so I think the article said. It is located in Nancy, which I think is where J.-P. Simon started in 1945.

I would also appreciate knowing when the manufacturer-produced tax stamp on the Ace of Clubs (or whatever) started. One post said it started in 1817 and ended in 1945. But perhaps that was a misprint for 1917. I don't mean the one that lasted from 1890 to 1917. Perhaps it was that one's successor.


@Mike H

I will reply later to your question , but you can have a look at this post:

This is post #15 from this thread:

About France Cartes

1. Go to

2. Choose following menu:
Le Groupe / Histoire et Métiers / Historique
You will be leaded to a short description of the history of B.P. Grimaud

With all respect and consideration to the great work of Kaplan, not every single thing he wrote must be correct.

Best regards


c. 1906. (Date is per Deck in Spanish by “Dr. Moorne,” El supremo arte de echar las cartas, to accompany a Spanish version of the Grand Etteilla III, in which the pictures are on the right, and on the left a Hebrew letter and other symbols. The deck probably existed in the 19th century, and had Italian as well as Spanish examples (DDD p. 114f). The book’s expositions are in part derivative from the earlier French booklets. An odd feature is that Etteilla’s “days of creation” are applied to the cards in sequence, card 1 for the first day, card 2 for the second, and so on for the 7 days of creation (at least in the version at The result is that what is pictured on the card usually has little to do with the day of creation as Etteilla characterized it.
I have the deck (published by Gomez Gomez Hermanos Editores)- not dated.

The "other symbols" on the cards appear to be little sketches of vague scenes, often with people, in a kind of hieroglyphic manner - some containing Egyptian hieroglyphs and a few look more like European emblems.


Thanks for your helpful comments, Coredil, Huck, and Teheuti--especially Coredil, for those excellent links and the instructions on how to find things on the France Cartes site. I don't have all my questions answered, but enough so that I will change my timeline to reflect Coredil's information. It strikes me that the information on how Grimaud changed its manufacturing process at different times before 1890 might be useful for dating pre-1890 Grimaud decks. What do you think?


Etteilla's "Piémontois" in the 2nd Cahier

Now I have something else to revise in my timeline. Here is what I wrote:
Fortunately, DDD have information that fills in some blanks. They find no hard data before 1760. However they do report some hearsay about the 1757 meeting with the elderly Piedmontese. An 1859 biography by Millet-Saint-Pierre says that Etteilla met him in Lamballe, Brittany, and his name was Alexis. Even that is suspect, DDD say (p. 272, note 16), because "Alexis Piemontois" was the French pseudonym of a 16th century Italian author, who might have been confused with Atteilla's Piedmontese.

I have been perusing the end of the 2nd Cahier. Near the end, starting p. 134, Etteilla goes through seven ways of dividing the 78 cards (for the second time, I think). Of the fourth, he says he got it from "un sage Piémontois très-agé" in 1857. In a footnote, marked (1), he gives reminiscences of this wise, very aged Piedmontese, and in a footnote to the footnote, marked (a), he tells how he happened to meet the man. From this last footnote, it is clear where Atteilla’s biographer got the idea that the Piedmontese’s name was Alexis and that Etteilla met him in Lamballe. It is also clear that there was no confusion between this Alexis and the “Alexis Piémontois” of two centuries earlier, as Decker et al speculate, because Etteilla’s Alexis is said to be the grandson (“petit fils”) of the earlier one. Since the earlier one lived 1520-1566, per Decker et al, the later one must have been "très-agé" indeed; well, presumably he had the "universal medicine," of which Etteilla says much, of a general nature, in the 2nd Cahier.

Below is my translation of the 1785 French text, including the footnotes. Besides the footnotes to the way of dividing the tarot "in four books," there is also a footnote to the third way of dividing the tarot, the one “in three books.” That one is not as interesting as the ones to the tarot “in four books,” but I include it, too. I of course would welcome any comments to improve my understanding of this text. Then at the end of the post I give my transcription of the original French, from a photocopy of the 2nd Cahier.

2nd Cahier, pp. 134-136 (footnotes extending to 139), my translation, as literal as possible, followed by 2 explanatory comments by me, on the terms “harmonic,” and “magpie,” and then my transcription of the original:
Numerical tableau of the division of the seven Books, and part of what has been omitted, for more instruction.

In one Book.
(1 to and including 78,) presents the Universe, in the form and the government of the three Worlds, upper, harmonic, and lower.

In two Books.
(1 to 21,) grace, permission and divine order. (The zero 0, 22 to and including 77,) human, sense-related [Fr. “sensible”] power and false order.

In three Books.
Verb, principle, agreement, agent, uniting, patient. (1 to 12.) God speaking to Men. (13 to zero 0,) human weakness. (22 to 77,) all the Sciences, History, the vulgar Physics, Medicine (1), and finally all the Sciences and liberal and mechanical Arts I say the principles of all the Sciences and all the Arts which are useful for the life of Man, in his happiness, and even in his honest enjoyment, his plans there. See what is said about it by Mr. de Gébelin.

(1) Doctors generally embrace the regime which appears to them the most appropriate for the cure; nevertheless, be it by particular study of one of the regimes, or be it by inclination, they choose by sentiment the one or the other, as I say, by taste; but contrary to the ancient, the Modern does not depart from the regime once adopted, and on this side I admit that if study is the basis of these different sentiments, that the Medicine of today is preferable; I have explained the reason on page 100.

In four Books.
(1 to 12,). God created, sanctified and rested. (13 to 17.) (18 to 21 and zero.) (22 to 77.) (1)

(1) I avow that it was under this division that I sought to learn in my first studies of this Book, helped by the wise opinions of a wise, very aged Piedmontese (a) who said he was the grandson of Alexis said the Piedmontese. He was singularly educated, and discoursed on his ideas with wisdom and clear precision. If, for example, he spoke of the Creator, he knew to feel rapport with physical Nature, the necessity that existed at all times, either by the links in Nature, or by the divine Workman who made and bound the ones with the others, in such a manner that one could not discover in it the weld.

He made appear the lie as the magpie of the truth, by an anthill of metaphors, of which one only, taken at random, might give us some easy notion of his love for this truth.

Some body (supposed a stone) presented itself to his attention; let us presuppose what weight it might have. Continuing, he said: I cannot require that you say its exact weight, because you are not in the habit of judging the weight of a body without scales; so I ask only that you approach as near as you can to it, to make you feel that the lie also always puts itself closer to the truth, because it can only be by hinting at it that one can school Ignorance. Let us weigh everything with the scales of Science and Wisdom, and we shall have Justice.

(a) Being in Rouen, in 1757, I made the acquaintance of one named Lecomte, a Parisian, nicknamed the Traveler; and when he saw me occupied with French Cartonomancy, he said to me that he knew a Man who did as much as I, with big Cards [i.e. a large deck]; and by the fact that I showed him the greatest desire to see and speak to this Man, he says to me that I could maybe find him in the East, where he had gone to embark. I left the same day for this City; but having looked for him there, I learned that he was going to Lamballe, where I found him; and judging my curiosity by this more than hundred and twenty leagues of road, he satisfied me as much as was in his power, giving me Notes in writing on the Game of Tarots, which he named Egyptian Book, which Notes are still in my hands. Finally Alexis suggested taking me overseas; and since I did not want to consent to it, we parted from each other, after a week of company, etc.
My explanatory comments:

Upper, harmonic, and lower worlds. I think Etteilla means the archetypal world, the world of the stars and planets, and the world inhabited by humans. There was a Pythagorean theory about “music of the spheres” in which the planets moved. The relationships among orbits in fact approximate musical intervals, which Kepler used in theorizing about them (

Magpies: known for their ability to imitate other birds and even human speech. (

2nd Cahier pp. 134-136 (footnotes extending to p. 139), original:
Tableau numérique de la division de sept Livres, & partie de ce qui a eté omis, pour plus d’instruction.

En un Livre.
(1 jusques & y compris 78,) est un entretien sur l’Univers, dans la forme & le gouvernement des trois Mondes, supérieur, harmonique & inférieur.

En deux Livres.
(1 jusqu’à 21,) bonté, permission & ordre divin. (Le zéro 0, 22 jusques & y compris 77,) puissance humaine, sensible, & faux ordre.

En trois Livres.
Verbe, principe, accord, agent, unissant, patient. (1 jusqu'à 12.) Dieu parlant aux Hommes. (13 jusqu'à zéro 0,) foiblesse humaine. (22 jusqu'à 77,) toutes les Sciences, l'Histoire, la Physique vulgaire, la Médecine (1), & enfin toutes les Sciences & les Arts libéraux & méchaniques je dis que les principes de toutes les Sciences & de toutes les Arts qui sont utiles à la vie de l’Homme, à son bonheur, & même à son honnète agrément, y son tracés. Voyez ce qu'en a dit seu M. de Gébelin.

(1) Les Médecins embrassent assez gènèralement le regne qui leur paroît le plus propre à la guérison; neanmoins, soit étude particuliere de l'un des regnes, ou soit inclination, ils portent assez vollontiers leur sentiment sur l'un ou l'autre, mais, comme je dis, par goût; au contraire les anciens Modernes ne se déparvient point du regne qu'ils avoient une fois adopté, & de ce côte j'avoue que si l'étude est la base de ces différens sentimens, que la Médecine d'aujourd'hui est préferable; j'en ai assez fais entendre la raison page 100.

En quatre Livres.
(1 jusqu'à 12,). Dieu, créa, sanctifia & le reposa. (13 jusqu'à 17. (18 jusqu'à 21 & zéro.) (22 jusqu'à 77.) (1)

(1) J'avoue que c'est sous cette division que j'ai, dans mes premieres études de ce Livre, cherché à l'apprendir, aidé des sages avis d'un sage Piémontois (a) très-agé, & se disant petit fils d'Alexis dit le Piémontois. (Il étoit singulierement instruit, & discouroit avec une sagesse & une précision net ses idées. Si, par exemple, il parloit du Créator, il saisait sentir, rapport à la Nature physique, la nécessité qu'il fût de tous les tems, soit par les anneaux de la Nature même, soit par le divin Ouvrier qui les avoit fabriqués & liés les uns dans les autres, de maniere que l'on n'en découvroit aucune soudure.

It saisoit comparoître le mensonge au pie de la vérité, par une fourmiliere de métaphores, dont une seule, prise sans choix, pouurra nous donner quelques lègeres notions de son amour pour cette vérité.

Un corps quelconque (supposé une pierre) s'offroit il à ses regards, il laissoit présupposer quel poids il pourroit avoir; & continuant, il disoit: Je ne puis pas exiger que vous disiez juste son poids, parce que vous n'êtes pas dans l'habitude de juger du poids d'un corps sans les balances; ainsi je demande seulement que vous en approchiez le plus près qu'il vous sera possible, afin de vous faire sentir que le mensonge se met toujours de même le plus près de la vérité, parce que ce ne peut être qu'en lui faisant allusion qu'il peut entraîner les Ignorans. Pesons tout avec les balances de la Science & de la Sagesse, & nous aurons pour nous la Justice.

(a) Erant à Rouen, en 1757, je fis la connoissance d'un nommé Lecomte, Parisien, surnommé le Voyageur; & sur ce qui'il me vis occupé à la Cartonomancie Francoise, il me dis qu'il connoissoit un Homme qui en faisoit autant que moi, avec de grandes Cartes; et sur ce que je lui témoignai le plus grand desir de le voir & de parler à cet Homme, il me dit que je pourrois peut-être le trouver à l'Orient, où il étoit allé pour s'embarquer. Je partis dés le même jour pour cette Ville; mais l'y ayant cherché, j'appris qu'il étoit allé à Lamballe, où je le trouvai; & jugeant de ma curiosité par plus de cent vingt lieues de chemin, il me satisfit autant qu'il fut en son pouvoir, me donnant des Notes par écrit sur le Jeu de Tarots, qui'il nomma Livre Egyptien, lesquelles Notes sont encore en mes mains. Enfin Alexis me proposa de m'emmener outre-mer; & sur ce que je ne voulus pas y consentir, nous nous quittâmes, après huit jours de société, &c.