Origin of the Grand Etteilla II lower panels...

Hello everyone!

This is my first time posting on this forum, so before we get down to brass tacks, I just thought I'd be neighborly and introduce myself. I'm a comic book writer/artist living in the Pacific Northwest. A few years ago, while working on an art project that incorporated medieval imagery, I accidentally stumbled onto Tarot for the first time. My natural curiosity got the better of me and I found myself instigating an exhaustive research into the origin of the cards. Since then, I've logged a considerable number of hours browsing several of the popular Tarot forums online (including this one) so I could better understand the history. I guess you could say that I've sort of been lurking on the fringes of the Tarot community for a while now. =/ Anyways, I finally decided that it was high time I join in on some of the fun, so here we are!

Now that we all know each other, let's get down to business...

The other day, I was reading Catherine Perry Hargrave's A History of Playing Cards. In the chapter titled "Playing Cards in France," she mentions a Jeu des cartes historiques published in Lille, circa 1760. Here's a picture of the page in question:

The artistic style of the cards looked kind of familiar, so I did some digging. Surprise! Surprise! The medallion portraits featured on these cards are the source of the images in the lower panels of the Grand Etteilla II sword cards! I don't know if anyone else has made this connection before, but I'll continue to jabber on about it as if no one has. Feel free to interrupt me at any time. =)

The historical cards depicted by Hargrave are the work of Victor-Joseph Étienne de Jouy (1764-1846) and engraver Pierre-François Godard (1768-1838), and were distributed by several printers/booksellers including chez Vanackère in Lille along with chez A. A. Renouard and chez Nicolle in Paris between 1804 and 1830.

De Jouy was the son of a cloth merchant and served in the military abroad before returning to France at the outbreak of the Revolution. He eventually achieved the rank of adjutant-general, but was accused of treason on multiple occasions. Despite being acquitted, he resigned from the military. He married the daughter of Scottish novelist Lady Mary Hamilton and George Robinson Hamilton (also a cloth merchant) who had relocated their family to Lille. De Jouy then embarked on a writing career. He penned several opera librettos, worked as a journalist, and spearheaded several other literary projects before dying in 1846.

Pierre-François Godard was the son of self-taught engraver Jean Godard (1735-1802) who had specialized in carving "têtes de pages" for books and pamphlets. Influenced by his father, he began his apprenticeship early, and produced his first major work when he was just 14 years old. Godard quickly developed a reputation for his skillful book illustrations. His other work included small illustrations used on pamphlets for the Nantes and La Flèche revolutionary groups and entrance tickets for l'Académie impériale de musique and the ceremony of the coronation of Napoleon I. Due to failing eyesight, Godard retired from engraving in 1814 and became a printer/bookseller. He died in 1838. Godard's son (1797-1864), also named Pierre-François Godard but known professionally as Godard II d'Alençon, would go on to achieve international recognition as an engraver, eclipsing the fame of both his father and grandfather.

De Jouy and Godard produced 15 decks, each covering a different topic such as French history, Roman mythology, and the Old Testament. Most of them can be found here: https://gallica.bnf.fr/services/engine/ ... 422988b%22 Both Henry-René d'Allemagne and Paul Marteau had several of the decks in their collections which were donated to the BnF, however neither of them appear to have acquired decks #9 (History of Animals), #14 (Astronomy), or #15 (Botany). Some of the cards from the ninth deck can be seen here: https://www.davidmilesbooks.com/book/11 ... lhistoire/ Hargrave mentions a few of these decks in her book, as does the Catalogue of the Collection of Playing Cards Bequeathed to the Trustees of the British Museum by the Late Lady Charlotte Schreiber. The BnF dates the earliest decks to 1804, a bit later than Hargrave's initial estimate. It appears that there were at least two printings of the cards. In the earlier print run (1804-1814) the cards were sold under the general title of Jeu de cartes instructives. In the second printing (1821-1829?) the cards instead have titles concerning their specific topics (e.g. the historical decks are called the Jeu de cartes historiques, the geography deck is called the Jeu de cartes geographique, etc.). I also ran across an Italian version of one of the decks for sale online (see below), so there may have been additional printings.

At some point, Simon-François Blocquel must have obtained the engravings and used them to create the portraits featured on the Grand Etteilla II cards. It's quite possible that he acquired some of the original Godard woodcuts in an estate sale from either Godard himself or Vanackère. Godard retired in 1834 and died in July of 1838, the same year that Blocquel published his "Julia Orsini" book and the accompanying Tarot deck. Printer/bookseller Nicolas-Joseph-Désiré Vanackère, who (like Blocquel) was based in Lille, died in 1840, but may have sold off his stock before then. Another plausible theory is that Blocquel may have simply bought some of the cards and hired another engraver to copy the designs.

So far, I've managed to identify all of the figures appearing on the Sword cards. Hargrave states that many of the likenesses are taken from ancient medallions or coins.

From the Jeu de cartes instructives #3 - Histoire ancienne we have:
  • Fohi, (card II)
  • Confucius, (card III)
  • Cambyse, (card XII)
  • Cadmus, (card XVI)
From the Jeu de cartes instructives #10 - Histoire des Empereurs we have:
  • Caligula, (card IV)
  • Pertinax, (card XVII)
  • Maximin, (card XXV)
  • Aurelien, (card XXXII)
  • Probus, (card XXXIV)
  • Constantin, (card XXXVIII)

In examining several examples of Grand Etteilla II decks, I've encountered two different orders in how the figures are aligned with the Sword cards. This is probably due to the method of printing. The woodblocks were made up of several smaller pieces that were clamped together. No surprise that the components would get mixed up from time to time! =)

The first order is as follows:
  • 10 of Swords = Caligula
  • 9 of Swords = Cambyse
  • 8 of Swords = Fohi
  • 7 of Swords = Probus
  • 6 of Swords = Confucius
  • 5 of Swords = Aurelien
  • 4 of Swords = Cadmus
  • 3 of Swords = Pertinax
  • 2 of Swords = Constantin
  • Ace of Swords = Maximin

The following decks seem to adhere to this order:
1850 printing of the Orsini/Blocquel book Le Grand Etteilla ou L'Art de Tirer les Cartes See here: https://archive.org/details/b29321220/
1850 Grand Etteilla II colored cards in book at the BnF See here: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b105274748
1890 uncut sheets of Grand Etteilla II at the BnF See here: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10528654j

For the second order, we have:
  • 10 of Swords = Caligula
  • 9 of Swords = Cambyse
  • 8 of Swords = Confucius
  • 7 of Swords = Constantin
  • 6 of Swords = Fohi
  • 5 of Swords = Aurelien
  • 4 of Swords = Cadmus
  • 3 of Swords = Pertinax
  • 2 of Swords = Probus
  • Ace of Swords = Maximin
(Note: In comparison to the previous examples, Fohi has been swapped with Confucius and Probus has been swapped with Constantin.)

These decks follow the second order:
1850-1890 Delorme Grand Etteilla II deck w/ blue border and square corners at the BnF See here: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b105093455
1875-1880 Grand Etteilla II deck w/ blue border and rounded corners at the BnF See here: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b105431857

That's all I have time to cover for now! I'll talk more about the lower panels of the other suits in subsequent posts.

Re: Origin of the Grand Etteilla II lower panels...

The lower panels of the Grand Etteilla II suit of Coins feature circular woodcuts. Each shows a woman interacting with some sort of item or scenery. There are at least 12 different images that appear on the various Etteilla II decks. To me, this indicates that they were not specifically designed for the ten Coin cards, and that Blocquel may have adapted them from some other source like he did with the cards in the suit of Swords. Here are pictures and descriptions of the woodcuts:
  • reclining woman on a couch in front of curtains
  • seated woman holding a flower
  • seated woman writing with a quill pen
  • seated woman playing what appears to be a piano/harpsichord
  • seated woman holding what appears to be a dramatic mask
  • reclining woman leaning up against a boulder/mound of earth
  • seated woman interacting with a dog
  • seated woman holding an unknown object
  • seated woman in front of a palm tree
  • seated woman playing a lyre/guitar
  • seated woman with a basket in her lap and holding a flower
  • kneeling woman interacting with birds

They look like they might come from the same series of De Jouy/Godard cards, but I haven't been able to locate the original images in any of the decks available at the BnF. Several of the woodcuts depict plants and animals, so it's a possibility that they belong to one of the three missing decks (History of Animals, Astronomy, or Botany). The art style certainly resembles Godard's. Compare his engravings from deck #4 (Mythology):

Some of the women also bear a close resemblance to the nine Muses and their mother Mnemosyne. For instance, one woman appears to be holding a dramatic mask, which could indicate that she is either Melpomene, the muse of tragedy, or Thalia, the muse of comedy. Also, Apollo, who is depicted on the Ace of Coins in both the Etteilla I and II decks, was considered to be the leader of the Muses, so there's a thematic connection...

I don't know. That's all I got. =) Anyone have any other ideas? In the meantime, I'll keep looking...

Re: Origin of the Grand Etteilla II lower panels...

Great job. I've wondered about those figures, but never looked for them in Hargrave's book. As far as identifying the women, it might help if we knew which of the twelve were in which of the decks, because some might be variants of previous ones. Several of the Muses had musical instruments as their symbol, but only one was agricultural, although With this in mind I looked at a couple of versions I have scans of, the blue bordered one and what looks to me like an earlier graphic layout (not just a different printing) of the 1850 book. I will post comparative scans later.

I hadn't known the link to the 1850 edition by Blocquel-Castiaux, so thanks (I see it was uploaded in 2017, which is later than when I looked). I wonder how they know it is 1850; I didn't see a date. I like to think that what I have scans of is earlier, but it doesn't have a date either. It is the one at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. The figures in Las Vegas's Swords are in precisely the same order as the "1850". but in Coins they are different: Dog is on the ace (versus Unknown Object), Palm on the two (versus Dog), Boulder on the Three (same), and then the same, too, on the six through eight, but different on nine and ten, which in mine are Basket and lute-player, vs. Flower and Couch in the "1850". Four and five are missing in the "1850" (added later: missing according to the Archive blurb). In mine they are Birds and Flower. So Couch and Unknown Object seem to be changes.

The deck with square edges and blue borders that I have scans of (I assume it is the same as the one you linked to, but I haven't checked) has the same women in the same order as the Las Vegas book. (In this deck the Swords' figures are in the order you list for the blue bordered ones.)

That doesn't help to reduce the number of agricultural Muses, unfortunately. However there is a frieze at the Louvre that shows a few without identifying features (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muses), so room for artistic license.

Re: Origin of the Grand Etteilla II lower panels...

I was so excited about your information, John, that I forgot to welcome you to THF. So yes, welcome, I'm so glad you're here. Also, it's nice having a fellow Norhwesterner on board (I'm in the Portland area).

Another thing I was excited about was your calling attention to the "Internet Archive" copy of the "Julia Orsini", which I hadn't known now exists. I can say more about it, and also about what preceded it. First, the date. It says below the scan (https://archive.org/details/b29321220/page/n6):
Publication date 1850

Publisher [Paris?] : [publisher not identified]
Actually, of course, the publisher and place are clearly identified, as you indicated: "Lille, Blocquel-Castiaux", on the page where the Wellcome Library stamp appears. But where did the "Paris?" and "1850" come from? My theory is that it derives from Dusserre's reprint of the main sections of it in the Little White Book (LWB) that goes with their reprint of the "Grand Etteilla III" deck, which they call "Tarot Egyptien, Grand Jeu de Oracle des Dames". They say, on the inside cover of the LWB that the method of reading the cards they are reproducing is that of Julia Orsini"s "Art de tirer les cartes", which was "edité à Paris vers 1850" i.e. about 1850. This does not imply that it was exactly 1850, so there is that discrepancy, which I take to be a little bit of license on someone's part.

The Dusserre LWB may also be taking a bit of license - or else Papus is, in Tarot des Bohemiens . On p. 341 we see that Papus dates his copy of the same "Julia Orsini" text at 1853 precisely: https://books.google.com/books?id=vDTgo ... ni&f=false. I am inclined to go with that.

In any case, if anyone wants to read an English translation of a major part of the "Julia Orsini" text, just buy the Dusserre deck plus LWB. The parts included, with translation, are "Indications", "Manière de Tirer les Cartes", "Observations" and "Explications des 78 Tarots ou Cartes Egyptiennes formant le Livre de Thot". These parts are the same in 1853 and previously.

As to why Dusserre's version is the "vers 1850" or "1853" rather than the original of 1838 (which SteveM found confirmed in a Gallica source, I think a notice of its publication in a book listing books published in that year), we have the claim on Dusserre's inside cover already cited, "vers 1850". Further confirmation is on the inside back cover, which has an illustration contained in the Wellcome Library scan (in the explication of card 2, p. 56, at left below) but not in the version in Las Vegas that I scanned (at right):

In fact, I now think it is likely that the University of Nevada at Las Vegas copy that I scanned is probably the 1838 original, as can be seen by differences between the two.

First, the places where the Las Vegas can be purchased are, in the first instance, advertised as follows:

There is nothing corresponding to this page in the Wellcome version. Then, two pages later, there follows a frontispiece illustration and the page giving information about what is in the book. In the Las Vegas, we see "Paris, Tous les Marchands to Nouveautes" in the place where one would expect the publisher to be listed (in fact many libraries do give this as the publisher!), it is actually where to find the book. In the Wellcome these have been expanded to include bookstores ("Libraries") as far away as Shanghai. Below I give first the Las Vegas, then the Wellcome:
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-3i-vfaYtdeM/ ... e_003a.jpg


Here is the part about Shanghai, etc., made larger:

I would assume that Blocquel feels justified in giving this list in virtue of the response to his earlier edition. I included the part about LeNormand because of my second point, below.

Second, the section called "De l'Origine des Cartes" is much longer in the Wellcome version than in the Las Vegas. The first five paragraphs are the same. The next two paragraphs are rewritten, followed then by the same quote from de Gebelin in both. Then the Las Vegas concludes with one short paragraph, while the 1853 does not have that paragraph, but goes on for three pages after the de Gebelin quote, including much discussion of LeNormand, after which there are advertisements for three books not mentioned in 1838. This is pp. 6-12, starting at

Compared with pp. 7-10 of the Las Vegas:
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-KW4pN-98QMc/ ... ge_005.jpg
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LRA9wZ7zp0U/ ... ge_006.jpg
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-wMzx2CULdGk/ ... ge_007.jpg

Otherwise, the differences are mainly in graphics: some illustrations in 1838 are omitted from 1853, and others added. Most significantly, the 1853 is missing a fold-out illustration of the layout of the "temple of Memphis" with the 78 "feuilles" (leaves), evidently too complicated for the reprint.
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xQhy1P31Y5I/ ... ge_008.jpg

Can we speculate meaningfully about whether the engraver of the bottoms of the cards was the same as the engraver for the tops, or the rest of the illustrations, in 1838? And what is the relationship of the Grand Etteilla I tops and those of II? It looks as though, in the I, Etteilla wanted there to be something on the bottom, where there is just a blank space. And was Blocquel's engraver the same as the engraver of the original "temple of Memphis" (which was done for Etteilla, I think)? These que4stions are beyond any pretense of competence on my part. Finally, is the engraver in 1850 the same as in 1838? I am enclined to think not, based on the two frontispieces, but again, that is beyond my competence.

Re: Origin of the Grand Etteilla II lower panels...

Hi Mike!

Big fan of your work! I've probably read every single one of your archived posts at the now-defunct Aeclectic Tarot Forum at least a dozen times by now, not to mention your thousands of Tarot blogs... Nice to finally cross paths with you! =)

The scans at the Internet Archive come from the copy at the Wellcome Library. Here's a link to their record of the book: http://search.wellcomelibrary.org/iii/e ... 2?lang=eng (FYI...clicking "View Online" will take you to their online reader where you can download high-resolution scans of individual pages and a slightly better quality PDF than the link at the Internet Archive.) Like the Internet Archive, they also list the publisher information as "Paris? : publisher not identified, 1850?" so it's pretty clear that they're just guessing. Your theory regarding the Dusserre LWB is probably correct. My guess would be that the librarians found a record for that LWB in some online library network, noted the similar title and author, and just assumed that it was the same book.

Like you, I've only heard of two specific dates associated with Le Grand Etteilla, ou l'Art de tirer les Cartes: the original 1838 edition and the 1853 edition cited in the bibliographies of Waite's translations of Tarot of the Bohemians. However, I've seen at least five variants appear in online sales/auctions (see below).

As you can see, there are no dates on any of the title pages. The product descriptions for the first three claim that they're from 1838, but the others don't mention any specific dates. In descending order of the images, we have:
  • Version #1. (1838) Man sitting under tree; Caption says "Couché fils del. et sculp." - no mention of publisher - 212 pages
  • Version #2. (1838) Woman holding wand; Caption says "Mademoiselle Lenormand" - no mention of publisher - unknown number of pages
  • Version #3. (1838) Two women sitting at a table reading cards; Caption says "Julia Orsini" - no mention of publisher - unknown number of pages
  • Version #4. (?) Blank frontispiece - Lille, Blocquel-Castiaux (from auction description) - 204 pages
  • Version #5. (?) Unknown frontispiece - Imprimerie de Poissy, Lejay fils et Lemoro (from auction description) - 256 pages

Your Las Vegas copy looks exactly like version #1, save for a slight variation in typesetting (i.e. the word "Etteilla" is bigger on your copy). In regards to the caption of the frontispiece, "Couché fils" might refer to François Louis Couché (1782-1849), a French engraver and designer. See here: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A ... ouch%C3%A9 The phrase "del. et sculp." means "drew and engraved." Could he be the original engraver of the Grand Etteilla II images?

Version #4 seems to be the same as the one at Wellcome/Internet Archive. If we ignore the pictures of the 78 cards at the end, the Wellcome copy has exactly 204 pages. This agrees with the information from the online auction. I think most, if not all, versions of the Orsini book were originally softcover, but several of them were bound in leather at a later date. This could explain why the Wellcome copy is missing the temple of Memphis fold-out illustration and the advertisements that customarily come at the end of all of Blocquel's books. They were removed when the book was re-bound. This also accounts for the faded portrait of Etteilla pasted on the facing page. This was probably the original cover of the paperback. See the Wellcome copy here (https://archive.org/details/b29321220/page/n7) and compare it with the following pictures:

Version #5 is interesting, to say the least... There is no mention of Bloquel-Castiaux. Instead it lists Poissy, Lejay fils et Lemoro as the publishers. These guys were active in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Assuming this isn't the result of an error, this might be a post-Castiaux/Blocquel/Delarue version of the book.

I've also found references to an 1862 book titled Le Grand et le Petit Etteilla, ou l'art de tirer les cartes which may be a subsequent edition of the Orsini book supplemented with material concerning Etteilla's piquet deck or one of the Etteilla Oracle decks. I haven't been able to find a copy to confirm this.

Here's another mystery...
The Tarot-as-Tarocchi website here (https://www.tarot-as-tarocchi.com/grand ... staux.html) show cards that have been cut out from an 1838 Orsini book and pasted onto cardboard. If you look closely, some of them have small letters printed in the margins.
  • The Etteilla card has an A.
  • The Queen of Cups has a G.
  • The 5 of Cups has an H.
  • The 5 and 3 of Coins both have an N.
I've never seen this before. Do these come from yet another edition of Orsini?

Looks like I ended up asking more questions rather than coming to any concrete conclusions. Sorry about that. Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you. =)

In my next post, I'll try to be a bit more constructive. After slogging through all of Blocquel and Castiaux's other publications, I managed to find a few of the other lower panel images and traced them back to their original sources. I'll post the photos when I get all my ducks in a row.

Re: Origin of the Grand Etteilla II lower panels...

Tarot John wrote,
Here's another mystery...
The Tarot-as-Tarocchi website here (https://www.tarot-as-tarocchi.com/grand ... staux.html) show cards that have been cut out from an 1838 Orsini book and pasted onto cardboard. If you look closely, some of them have small letters printed in the margins.

The Etteilla card has an A.

The Queen of Cups has a G.

The 5 of Cups has an H.

The 5 and 3 of Coins both have an N.

I've never seen this before. Do these come from yet another edition of Orsini?
These letters are also on my Las Vegas scans. Good eye. I had not noticed them before. I also see a B on Justice (card 9), a C on Marriage (card 13), a D on Dissension/Chariot (card 21), an E on the Page of Batons (Card 25), an F on the 3 of Batons (card 33), an I on the Ace of Cups (card 49), a K on the 7 of Swords (card 57), an L on the 3 of Swords (Card 61). an M on the 9 of Coins (Card 69), an N on the 5 of Coins (Card 73). The 3 of Coins is N*. So we have:

A - card 1
B - card 9 (difference 8)
C - card 13 (difference 4)
D - card 21 (difference 8)
E - card 25 (difference 4)
F - card 33 (difference 8)
G - card 37 (difference 4)
H - card 45 (difference 8)
I - card 49 (difference 4)
K - card 57 (difference 8)
L - card 61 (difference 4)
M - card 69 (difference 8)
N - card 73 (difference 4)
N* - card 75 (difference 2)

The pattern is quite regular, except for the N*, which is 4th from the end - but it is 6th from the previous letter. My speculation: they might indicate the order of the printed sheets. If it was 6 to a sheet, sheet A would have cards 1-6, sheet B cards 7-12, etc. But then I don't understand why it wouldn't have been a letter every 6 cards. Perhaps it was 12 to a sheet, with one letter marking the beginning of the first row of 4 and and the other the beginning of the last row of 4. And the last sheet, cards 73-76, had just 6.

Tarot John wrote
I think most, if not all, versions of the Orsini book were originally softcover, but several of them were bound in leather at a later date.
I vaguely remember that the Las Vegas copy wasn't leather bound, but just stiffer paper. I have one scan of a bearded man, similar to yours except facing the other way, only down to the waist, and no background, with "LE GRAND ETTEILLA" underneath. I think it is the front cover. This is in addition to the frontispiece, of the Egyptian. Then there is another engraving. of a young woman, same style of clothing, feather in her hair (or cap or turban, as in the "Mademoiselle Lenormand" that you showed, but less exotic otherwise), with "JULIA ORSINI" underneath. I think that was the back cover.

Tarot John wrote,
In regards to the caption of the frontispiece, "Couché fils" might refer to François Louis Couché (1782-1849), a French engraver and designer. See here: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A ... ouch%C3%A9 The phrase "del. et sculp." means "drew and engraved." Could he be the original engraver of the Grand Etteilla II images?
Good eye on the "Couche", too. I hadn't thought of making anything of that. I thought at first that the word after "Couche" might be an abbreviation - for what, I had no idea. But now I see that it is similar to the big S, at a slant, and his pen just skipped a bit.
Added later: On p. 16 of the Wellcome there is a reference to the events of 1848. That dates it after then. It is in a passage advertising a book about Nostradamus and is not in the Las Vegas book.

Re: Origin of the Grand Etteilla II lower panels...

Here are the front cover of the Las Vegas version, with the 1853 front cover on the right for comparison:
And here is the back cover of the Las Vegas, with the Lenormand frontispiece of what seems to be an intermediate edition between 1838 and 1853.
I have a few other pages from it. The main difference is the "d'apres la methode de Mademoiselle LENORMAND" added to the title page on the other side. Otherwise there is a slightly different typeface and one additional illustration, filling up what in the Las Vegas is a blank page, illustrating "Cagliostro", whom I do not see mentioned in the text.
The advertisements at the back are the same, in the same order, except that the first on the Las Vegas list (Le Tresor du Veillard des Pyramids) is put later in the other, and the other adds some titles not in the Las Vegas. It would be of some interest to find out when they were first published. Here are the additions (with the exception already mentioned)
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-yLs-bSmrmAw/ ... s%2Bi1.jpg
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-DJLOdUNmT-k/ ... k%2B2a.jpg

Re: Origin of the Grand Etteilla II lower panels...

Sorry for my absence the last few days...

Wow! Interesting that your copy also has the letters at the bottom of the cards! Thanks for posting the covers, too! I was curious what they looked like. The more I see of it, the more I'm convinced that the Las Vegas copy is the original from 1838. I might have to call up the library there to see if they'd be willing to scan the book for me for what I hope is not an exorbitant fee. =) I've got a few other lines of research where a photocopy of this book could come in handy, (e.g. comparison with an 1861 Russian copy of an Orsini text that accompanied a rare variant of Grand Etteilla III, and investigating the origins of Spanish cartomancy which seems to be copied from the tradition of Etteilla, probably via either the 1838 or 1850 Orsini, or even the Grand Jeu de l'Oracle des Dames LWB).

Getting back to the lower panels, I found some more evidence backing up my theory of how Blocquel obtained the historical portraits used on the suit of Swords. Blocquel-Castiaux published a series of "chansonniers" or song books. One of them, titled Le Double chansonnier des théâtres and found at the Bnf here: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k58538586, lists that the book is also available from chez Vanackère fils (see below). In my earlier post, I had mentioned that Vanackère père was one of the printers/booksellers who published the de Jouy/Godard decks. This proves that Blocquel and the Vanackères at least knew of one another. Their paths must have crossed. Blocquel probably obtained Vanackère's original engravings or at least had them copied.

Here he is using them again in an 1843 book Nouvelle sélamographie, langage allégorique, emblématique ou symbolique des fleurs et des fruits... (See here: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k9799129m)

Moving on to the other two suits, here are the lower panels from the Cups (13 varieties):

I've only been able find one other instance of any of these. The "Winged Lion Head w/ Lightning Bolts" image appears on the title page of an 1848 Castiaux/Blocquel/Delarue publication called Nouvel alphabet mnémonique, syllabaire amusant orné de 66 figures (https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5434575g)

That being said, I've located some engravings that are visually similar to those in the Cup lower panels in the various "chansonniers" published by Blocquel. They're not exact matches but look like they come from the same series. They typically depict instruments, weapons, or some other item. I'll keep my eyes open for more...

Last but not least, here are the Batons (11 varieties):

I found a few of these. =)

The Stagecoach appears on page 144 of Le Double chansonnier des théâtres (I posted the link earlier). This book has no date, but it appears in an 1839 French bibliography. There are several other stagecoach images throughout.

The Arrows and the Key engravings both appear in the 1844 (https://archive.org/details/BIUSante_73618, Note: ignore the incorrect date given at Archive.com) and the 1847 (https://books.google.com/books?id=u9c2hV-ZW-YC) copies of Blocquel publication Le triple vocabulaire infernal, manuel‎ du démonomane‎ ou les ruses de l'enfer dévoilées. I suspect, but haven't checked yet, that this book is plagiarized from Collin de Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal from 1818. If it is, this creates an interesting connection...

Collin de Plancy and his cousin Gabrielle de Paban also wrote the LWB (https://books.google.com/books?id=tBtbAAAAcAAJ) that accompanied Pierre Mongie l'aîné's 1826 Etteilla deck made from the original Etteilla deck's plates. If Blocquel plagiarized their demonology book, could he also have based the Orsini book and deck on their material from 1826? It would certainly explain why the Grand Etteilla II cards have "names" on the sides of the cards (e.g. Le Chaos, La Folie ou L'Alchemiste, etc.). None of the other Grand Etteilla I decks have names on the cards. Where did he get the idea? Blocquel may have been influenced by the italic titles inserted into the images of the 1826 deck (see below). What do you think?

The Arrows appear again on page 88 of Blocquel's Variétés littéraires, anecdotiques et morales, album dédié aux dames from 1855 (see here: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k9756620k).

Finally, we have the Deck of Cards and the Palmed Card. I found these reappearing in a few other Blocquel publications. Here they are in an 1864 book Manuel de l'amateur des tours de cartes, choix des tours les plus amusants (https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k14125082), its 1866 reprint (https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k1412509g), and 1871's Les mille et un amusements de société (https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k6567171n):

It's pretty clear that the cards are part of a series of images instructing the reader on how to perform card tricks, so I started looking for some earlier pre-1838 Blocquel/Catiaux/Delarue publications concerning magic. I found a series of books they put out in the 1810s. (Some date Le petit magicien to 1819, but it appears in an 1816 French bibliography). It was reissued throughout the 1800s. (I've also found copies dating to the 1820s and 1860.) Does the figure on the frontispiece look familiar? =)

I managed to trace the Deck of Cards and the Palmed Card images back even further. I found them in the Encyclopédie méthodique par ordre des matières (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encyclop% ... A9thodique) from the late 1700s. The following plates were published once in 1790 (https://books.google.com/books?id=2P_bsSkvgz4C) and again in 1792 (https://books.google.com/books?id=SFw6tgxmuooC):

These in turn may have been taken from a 1786 book by famed magic debunker Henri Decremps titled Testament de Jérôme Sharp (https://www.loc.gov/item/33008603).

Whew! Still with me? Castiaux and/or Blocquel must have copied the two card images from either the encyclopedia or the Decremps book. There's no question about it.

The more I learn about Castiaux/Blocquel/Delarue, the more I come to regard them as professional plagiarists, LOL. It seems like the vast majority of their output was copied from somebody else's work without attribution. I suppose that could be a plausible explanation for Blocquel's frequent adoption of pseudonyms (Julia Orsini, Blismon, Z. Lismon, etc.). I wouldn't want anyone to know who I was if I was stealing their work. They might catch up to you someday! =P

That's about all my brain can handle for now. I think it's safe to say we've established that Grand Etteilla II is kind of a Frankenstein's monster, assembled from unrelated bits and pieces. I've started working on a spreadsheet identifying which Grand Etteilla II decks use which panels. This might be another useful way of dating the decks. I'll post pictures of it here when I'm done.

To recap:
  • Batons - (found 5/11) The two pictures of cards come from 18th century magician's manuals which Castiaux/Blocquel/Delarue may have plagiarized and republished multiple times throughout the 19th century. The arrows, the key, and the stagecoach reappear in later publications, usually in the form of illustrations or decorative engravings at the end of chapters.
  • Cups - (found 1/13) The Lion head and other images similar to the Cup panels appear in a series of Chansonniers (song books) published by Bloquel-Castiaux.
  • Swords - (found 10/10) We can account for all of the images. They come from two different de Jouy/Godard instructive decks.
  • Coins - (found 0/12) We have no idea where these images come from. They could be from one of the three unaccounted for de Jouy/Godard decks, or some other unknown group of engravings depicting women. May be a depiction of Muses, Roman virtues, etc.

The search continues... =)

Re: Origin of the Grand Etteilla II lower panels...

Excellent work, John. All very convincing to me. A few comments.

Tarot John wrote
Wow! Interesting that your copy also has the letters at the bottom of the cards! Thanks for posting the covers, too! I was curious what they looked like. The more I see of it, the more I'm convinced that the Las Vegas copy is the original from 1838. I might have to call up the library there to see if they'd be willing to scan the book for me for what I hope is not an exorbitant fee. =)
In my experience not many libraries are set up to scan books, and those that do charge around $1 a page, sometimes with a limit on the number of pages, e.g. around 50, unless you are there in person and have just a few to do. The book has 270 or so pages including the covers. But there is no need. f you send me a PM (Private Message) with an email address for you, I will send you pdfs with scans of everything in the book except a few pages where I must have turned two pages at once. (I was in a hurry, as we had reservations for Zion National Park Lodge for that evening. I consider myself lucky that they let me do it myself, for maybe $13.50 or so. It was in the olden days, before flashdrives; I had to pay for the paper.) The missing pages can easily be recovered from the 1853 Wellcome. There are a few illustrations in the 1838 that aren't in the 1853. Otherwise it is much the same. There are two things in the 1838 text that aren't in the 1853: the advertisements on the last three pages and an account of the rules for playing the card game. That last may be worth a thread in itself, when I get a chance.
Here are the ads:
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-vUI2cBQiUxA/ ... e_184a.jpg
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OMSR-PIfoBw/ ... e_185a.jpg
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-07LrX8ECwrM/ ... e_186a.jpg

Tarot John wrote
I've got a few other lines of research where a photocopy of this book could come in handy, (e.g. comparison with an 1861 Russian copy of an Orsini text that accompanied a rare variant of Grand Etteilla III, and investigating the origins of Spanish cartomancy which seems to be copied from the tradition of Etteilla, probably via either the 1838 or 1850 Orsini, or even the Grand Jeu de l'Oracle des Dames LWB).
The Spanish book's images, as I recall, come from the Grand Etteilla III (whose trumps derive from the Nuremburg Chronicle , 1497] The Spanish text does not correspond to Blocquel's, as I recall, but it's been a while. On my "timeline" on ATF I said it borrowed from earlier pamphlets. The 1861 Russian book is worth exploring: I don't know it.

As far as Blocquel's plagiarizing, it's so far only the images. And it's good from our perspective, because we can trace his sources. I do not have a prior source for the text, however.

A text by the title of "LePetit Escomoteur" was published in 1797-1798 by Saint-Sauveur, which appears along with a "Petit Magicien" in a collection I have limited scans of (for which I paid $50 for 50 pages) called Le Bohemien, 1802, none with illustrations. In those years Saint-Sauver worked as a stage magician.

For new readers who may not know all this history, here is the second ATF Etteilla timeline thread, https://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=250106, intended to summarize everything from the first timeline thread and several others, These days the first timeline thread would be unreadable as a whole; it has 409 posts, many of them quite long. But specific posts in it are invaluable, which I tried to link to, at least approximately, in the second timeline.

Re: Origin of the Grand Etteilla II lower panels...

That's interesting about the JGSS link. I'm familiar with his involvement with the Petit Oracle des Dames deck, but have yet to do a deep dive into his life. It's been on my to-do list... Now, I just might have to take a closer look to see if there's any overlap between his published work and Blocquel's.

In any case, thanks for linking to your old timeline! It should fill in the many gaps in my explanations. It's probably the most comprehensive guide to Etteilla on the web. You even catch a few things that DDD missed! I always regarded it as a nice piece of work. You and the gang at Aeclectic are really smart guys. =)

Thanks also for your generous offer to send me your scans! I'd greatly appreciate the 1838 Orsini book, and any other Etteilla material you'd be willing to send me. I've sent you a PM with my email address. Also, I recently purchased some scans of my own:
1770 - Etteilla, ou manière de se récréer avec un jeu de cartes par M.***
1789 - Livre de Thot (a rare 4-page pamphlet that accompanied Etteilla's original deck)
1790 - Cours théorique et pratique du livre de Thot
If you would like any of these, I'd be only too happy to send them your way. Quid pro quo, and whatnot... I also have a couple different copies of Joubert de La Salette's Dictionnaire synonimique du livre de Thot being scanned as we speak, one from the Wellcome Library and the other from BIU Santé. I should receive them in the next month or so. I'd be happy to forward them as well if you're interested. Just let me know! =)

You've probably already got most of the other Etteilla books I have in my digital collection, (I plundered everything I could find at Archive.org, the BnF, Google Books, and the British Museum), but here are a few links to some hard-to-find Etteilla stuff that you might find useful:

M.-M. d'Odoucet's 3 volumes of Sciences des signes
No doubt you've found Volumes 1 and 2 at Archive.org. (In case you haven't, Vol 1 is here: https://archive.org/details/b22018529_0001 and Vol 2 is here: https://archive.org/details/b22018529_0002) The Warburg Institute has all three volumes bound together here: https://warburg.sas.ac.uk/pdf/fmh4218b3243959.pdf. Before you click on the link, be aware that the PDF is about 250 MB.

Johann Scheible's 1857 reprint of Hisler's German Etteilla
(http://sammlungen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de/s ... 30:4-75472) I should warn you that the connection to their server is a little spotty for some reason. I had to restart the download 5 or 6 times to get it to complete. Fortunately, it remembers where your download left off. =)

Russian book and Grand Etteilla III from 1861
I found the book on Facebook a while back (see here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... Hd3dy1BZms). FYI...These scans are really rough. Russian paper from this era was pretty crappy. To make matters worse, the images at the link I sent you are pictures of photocopies, (i.e. someone printed out xeroxes of the book, then took pictures of the xeroxes laid out on a table with a camera). Better than nothing I guess... I traced it to a couple of libraries in Russia, but it hasn't been put online yet.

I've seen pictures of the corresponding deck on James Revak's site (see here: https://www.villarevak.org/ett/ett_con.html) and Andrey Kostenko's site (see here: http://green-door.narod.ru/rusett1.html). Seems to be a Russian bootleg of Etteilla III. I say bootleg because all of the Major Arcana images are flipped. This is likely the result of the engravers copying directly from the cards (and forgetting that the engraving needs to be a mirror image in order for it to print the same as the original). This means that they weren't working from the original plates. The pip cards make this deck unique. They're completely different from other Etteilla III decks. Aside from the Sola Busca and the Rider-Waite-Smith decks, this is one of the only historical Tarots featuring illustrations on the Minor Arcana. Pretty cool stuff!

Johannès Trismégiste's 1864 edition of L'Art de tirer les cartes
(https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k934848j) This copy is missing its title page and as a result has been incorrectly attributed to François-Lubin Passard aka Arthur Delanoue, who I believe to be the editor of the book. Compared to the 1843 version (and its 1850 reprint) this book creates alternate titles for the Jeu de la Princesse Tarot cards. DDD talk about this edition on page 150 of A Wicked Pack of Cards. The 1843 edition can be found here: https://archive.org/details/b28750640.

Spanish Etteilla
(http://bdh-rd.bne.es/viewer.vm?id=0000250271&page=1) This is the 1903 book by Dr. Moorne that you mention in your timeline. I own a modern reprint of his 1906 book El Supremo Arte de Echar las Cartas, and it appears to be exactly the same as the 1903 book, save for the new title. While it's not an exact translation of Orsini, Moorne's book does borrow the odd phrase/sentence here and there. In fact, he seems to be synthesizing several tarot traditions, including some stuff from the Levi/Christian/Papus/Wirth school of thought.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests