Bolognese cards for export

In 2005 Dummett and McLeod said the following (Games Played with the Tarot Pack, pp. 113-114):
The manufacture of playing cards in Lombardy died out towards the end of the XVII century, and players subsequently used Tarot de Marseille packs imported from France; Bolognese cardmakers began in about 1740 to produce packs for use in Lombardy, in a slight variation of the Tarot de Marseille; as the economy of Lombardy revived in the mid-century, cardmakers there produced packs in this 'Lombard variant' form, at first with backs on which were the trade-signs of Bolognese cardmakers. The French practice of having the name of each of the trumps and court cards inscribed at the bottom of the card had not previously prevailed in Italy, but in the Lombard variant these names were copied, in French, from the prototypes; from 1810 onwards, Italian equivalents were substituted
The only problem is that they give no documentation of these claims.

The TarotWheel page on Justice, ... ticia.html, had a comment related to this issue. It says about a series of Justice cards in the Tarot de Marseille style:
From left to right, we see first Justice from the Tarot of Jean Dodal, produced in Lyon in the first years of the 18th Century. Next to her, we have a Justice card from the Tarocco of Francesco Berti, dated to the end of the 17th Century and produced in Bologna. ...
Since the Berti deck rather conspicuously does not follow the Bolognese order, I wondered if it could be for export to somewhere the Tarot de Marseille was used. It seemed to me hardly likely that Bolognese players would use it. There is a nice thread here on that deck, viewtopic.php?f=14&t=769. The link given to the deck on that site no longer works. It is now ... -4547-1-78. The rest of the cards are accessible at the bottom of the page.

On the thread the dating, of course, was immediately challenged, with 1770-1780 as much more likely, based on Kaplan, vol. 2, p. 220, who lists a Francesco Berti, publishing "al Cervo" and "al Leone" as Bologna 1770-1780. The BM has simply not updated its site from what Wilshire said in 1876.

I am also concerned with the market for which the cards were intended.

Kaplan gives as references Keller, Catalog of the Cary Collection, 1981; Sylvia Mann, "At the sign of ...' Italian style," Journal of the International Playing Card Society, vol XIII, no. 2, and Wilshire. Keller's book is online at In the index, Francesco Berti is listed for decks ITA 30, 31, 66. Here are Keller's descriptions of ITA 30 and 31, in vol. 2, p. 36. (None of these decks seems to be digitalized.) They are classed as PSC style ITA-1.1 and ITA-1.211

This is in the section of the book identified on p. 35 as "Piedmontese Tarot." Of the decks on p. 35 in that section we have on the same page several from Genoa between 1897 and 1911 and one from Rome, 1933
Then after ITA 31 on pp. 36-37 are several from Milan, all 19th century, all type IT-1.211, but many of them given the additional classification of ITA 1.1. We are referred to Sylvia Mann 1966, 32-34 as well as Journal 2, 3 (1974), pp. 1-17.
There continue to be decks from Genoa and one from Bergamo. On p. 38, still in the "Piedmontese Tarot" section, there is one from Genoa and one from Turin.

The classification ITA 1.1 seems to be for Italian decks called "Tarot of Marseille" as opposed to, or as well as, "Piedmontese". These Italian TdMs designed ITA 1.1 are on p. 34 (see above), mostly listed without a place of production, except one is Turin and one Milan. They start in 1770 and go to 1865. If so, what distinguishes them from "Piedmontese"? From looking on Wikipedia, I'd say the lack of three bars on the Pope's staff, the horses facing each other on the Chariot card, and the face on the Devil card. The Berti cards have only one of these features, the horses.

Let us turn to Keller's IT-66. This is in the section for minchiate decks, which starts on p. 39, as can be seen on the last image shown above. Here are his items 65, 66, and 67. 66 is our Berti, and 67 is also from Bologna. These are at the very end of the section:

The pages in between, from 40 through 43, are uneventful, all from Florence, 1730 onwards, except one from Rome.

So would seem that there are at least two TdMs/Piedmonts and two minchiates made in Bologna now at Yale. The tarocchi, since they are in the Tarot de Marseille language and order, seem certainly for export elsewhere, Lombardy or Piedmont, perhaps even France or Switzerland. The minchiates might be for export elsewhere, because minchiate is absolutely never mentioned in literature written in Bologna. Moreover, Medici heraldics on a deck produced in Bologna would suggest export to Florence. However, in the Bolognese literature "tarocchi" and "tarocchini" were used virtually interchangeably in literary references, so perhaps they; perhaps they included minchiate, not making any distinction having to do with the number of cards.

So let us go on to his references. Mann 1966 is her Collecting Playing Cards, in Page 32-33 describe the "Piedmontese pattern," giving the titles in Tarot de Marseille order with their Italian, French, and English titles (i.e. as in the Rider-Waite, except for "Hanging Man" instead of "Hanged Man"). She says:
Until about 1870, the cards were usually narrow and had turnover edges. Cards in this style with French inscriptions came from an area around Bologna. In other parts of Italy, Italian inscriptions were adhered to.
The rest of the paragraph is about modern two-headed cards. Page 33 and part of 35 is about "Bolognese tarocchino," also called tarocco di Bologna, with the English titles. Page 34 is pictures of two-headed cards. Page 35, continuing to 38 (36 and 37 are pictures) is about "Florentine minchiate." She says the game died out around 1890, and no Florentine she has ever met has heard of it. 90% of the packs were produced in either Florence or Bologna.

Then there is Journal, Feb., 1974, pp. 1-17. This is by Dummett, presenting his three types A, B, and C, much as in Game of Tarot, except that he had a few more examples in 1980. Pp. 3-6 are about type A.

I could not find G. Beal 1975 online, I assume it is Playing Cards and their Story. Probably it has nothing we don't already know.

So I turn to Mann's "At the sign of ...' Italian style," Journal of the International Playing Card Society, vol XIII, no. 2 (1985). After a short introduction, ... 2%2529.jpg, she has a very interesting charts on pp. 53-54:
She ends with a few notes, of no significance here, ... 2%2529.jpg.

What is of interest here is that there is no "Piedmontese"; instead, Berti (given to 1750, but Kaplan is better placed to know better) and other producers are described as making "Lombard" tarocchi. What characterizes "Lombard"? I would presume the use of the Tarot de Marseille images and order, at least before the 19th century with French titles. There is of course nothing of this sort for the end of the 17th century. Nor do I see Dummett and McLeod's contrast between first half and second half of the 18th, as far as Milan vs. Bologna is concerned.

What is clear is that producers in one city made decks for use in other cities. And heraldics, type of imagery, and trump order (by numbers) do not tell us where a deck was made, at least in the 18th century. I see no reason why that wouldn't have been true in the 15th century as well. While enough work has been done on the Bembo workshop's distinctive style, and on Lombard style mid-century generally vs. styles elsewhere at that time, to identify the three earliest decks as Lombard in general and Bembo in particular, that is not true of the other early hand-panted decks. Identifying the characteristic unique styles of individual workshops would help in locating the place of production. That is to say, art-historical methods are the most reliable. Even then, assistants who learn their craft in one city may migrate to another and be sought after precisely for that style. Also, playing cards would seem to make excellent copy-books. But such practices probably need to be demonstrated in the instances under consideration. Otherwise, the main difference between the 15th and 18th centuries, as far as I can tell, is that in the 15th century the styles were rather new. But by the time of most of the decks we know, not that new.

Of further interest is what features differentiate Piedmont trumps from Tarot de Marseille trumps, and how these Bolognese versions fit in with either. In general, Piedmont seem to be TdMII except that a few cards are TdMI: the Pope and the Devil are typically mentioned (the cross doesn't have three bars, and the devil has a face on the belly). In that respect the Berti cards look somewhere between Dodal's TdMI and the Marseille TdMII, except for one detail: the horses face each other. This characteristic seems to be shared by decks produced in Piedmont as well, but not part of the Tarot de Marseille tradition at all. It is Type A. It would be of interest to know when that happened. If in the 18th century, then it can be explained as the Piedmont decks borrowing from decks produced in Bologna for export to Lombardy and beyond. If 16th century or earlier, it could be an argument for Bolognese or Florentine influence on Piedmont even then.

Re: Bolognese cards for export

Michael wrote ....
In 2005 Dummett and McLeod said the following (Games Played with the Tarot Pack, pp. 1113-114):
"The manufacture of playing cards in Lombardy died out towards the end of the XVII century, and players subsequently used Tarot de Marseille packs imported from France; ...."
The only problem is that they give no documentation of these claims.
German wiki Mailand
Nach dem Sieg Karls V. über Franz I. 1525 fiel mit Norditalien auch Mailand an das Haus Habsburg. 1556 dankte Karl V. zugunsten seines Sohnes Philipp II. und seines Bruders Ferdinand von Habsburg ab, so dass die italienischen Besitzungen an die hierdurch von Philipp II. begründete spanische Linie der Habsburger übergingen. 1700 starb mit dem Tode Karls II. diese spanische Linie des Hauses Habsburg jedoch aus. Danach begann 1701 der Spanische Erbfolgekrieg mit der Besetzung aller spanischen Besitzungen durch französische Truppen unter dem französischen Thronprätendenten. 1704 wurden die Franzosen in Ramillies und Turin geschlagen und mussten Norditalien zugunsten der österreichischen Habsburger räumen.
English wiki Milan
In 1700 the Spanish line of Habsburgs was extinguished with the death of Charles II. After his death, the War of the Spanish Succession began in 1701 with the occupation of all Spanish possessions by French troops backing the claim of the French Philippe of Anjou to the Spanish throne. In 1706, the French were defeated in Ramillies and Turin and were forced to yield northern Italy to the Austrian Habsburgs. In 1713–1714 the Treaties of Utrecht and Rastatt formally confirmed Austrian sovereignty over most of Habsburg Spain's Italian possessions including Lombardy and its capital, Milan. Napoleon invaded Italy in 1796, and Milan was declared capital of the Cisalpine Republic. Later, he declared Milan capital of the Kingdom of Italy and was crowned King of Italy in the cathedral. Once Napoleon's occupation ended, the Congress of Vienna returned Lombardy, and Milan, to Austrian control in 1815.
It seems obvious, why the playing card production in Lombardy died out (or why French cards occupied the place in 1701). Actually I wonder, if the Spanish owners of Milan still produced Tarot cards all the time between 1535/1556-1700. Are there examples of such cards from this time?
Kaplan II p. 219-225 has no Milanese Tarocchi producer name from 1513 - late 18th century.

As far I remember Florence stopped the production of Tarot cards in the 1630s. Minchiate/Germini was produced.
Were there Tarot cards from Naples under Spanish control? Sicily got its Tarocco version in 17th century.

Re: Bolognese cards for export

Mike, if you want to know more about Bolognese card production in the 18th century, you should look at Pietro Alligo and Alberto Milano, eds, Le carte da gioco in Emilia e Romagna, secoli XVIII e XIX (Turin: Lo Scarabeo, 2007) and especially the essay in it by Gianna Paola Tomasina called "Carte da gioco a Bologna nel secolo XVIII." She notes that Francesco Berti was making cards under the Al Leone name by 1763 (and probably a few years earlier than that, from what I can tell).

The Berti deck in the British Museum is of the type that Dummett in Game of Tarot called the "Lombard tarot", which is a distinctly different pattern from the "Piedmontese tarot" (the latter being significantly closer to the Tarot de Marseille in both its designs and its method of manufacture). The "Lombard tarot" pattern developed in Milan, probably in the 17th century, on the basis of imported Tarot de Marseille decks from France. But in the years and centuries that followed, it spread east all across the north of Italy and even into the Austrian empire. It was even manufactured in parts of Austria, as well as many places in northern Italy outside Lombardy.

I should perhaps also point out that the Bolognese cardmakers in the 18th century exported a lot of cards to various regions in northern Italy, so it's not at all unusual to find 18th century decks from Bologna of patterns that were almost certainly not used in Bologna itself. The Lombard tarot was just one of these patterns that the Bolognese were making for export at that time.

Lombard type

While I'm waiting for the book, I want to explore ITA-1.1, the "Lombard" type of tarocchi, a little more. There is an old IPCS page about it, but it only refers to the mid-19th century version. The complete index for all the varieties is at ... rn-sheets/:

Thierry Depaulis in 2013 said it derives from the TdMI (Tarot de Marseille, Facts and Fallacies Part 2, in Academia):
Type I is represented by earlier packs than Type II; we find it in Paris (Noblet), Lyon, Grenoble, and Avignon; it seems to disappear after 1750, not without giving root to the ‘Lombard’ tarot and to the ‘Tarot de Besançon’.
How true is that? In particular, are there other sources besides TdMI?

From the fact that the titles are in French, it would seem obvious that the pack comes from France or Switzerland or conceivably Savoy. And since the order is precisely that of the Tarot de Marseille, it would have derived from that deck. But is it only TdMI? After all, TdMII also existed by the time the Lombard order is known. And might there not be other influences, if not in the order or titles, but in the designs?

Here is Depaulis's summary of the differences between I and II:
- Trump IIII (l’Empereur): Type I shows a 4 in Arabic figure in front of the Emperor, Type II has no figure here.-
- Trump V (le Pape): Type I shows a crosier, Type II shows a papal cross.-
- Trump VI (l’Amoureux): in Type I the winged Cupid is blindfold and hairless (he wears a kind of crash helmet), He flies from right to left; in Type II Cupid flies from left to right; he has open eyes, and a curly hair (he is more ‘charming’).-
- Trump VII (le Chariot – often le Charior): in Type I the top of the canopy that covers the ‘driver’ is undulating, whereas in Type II the canopy is topped with a kind of stage curtain, making it more theatrical; it is clearly a later modification.
- Trump VIII (Justice): the figure has wings in Type I, whereas in Type II the wings have become the back of her throne.
- Trump XV (le Diable): in Type I the Devil has a human face on his belly, and his wings are large; while in Type II his belly is empty, and his wings are smaller.-
- Trump XVI (la Maison-Dieu): in Type I the flames come out of the tower toward the Sun; in Type II the flames come from the Sun toward the tower.-
- Trump XVIII (la Lune): in Type I the Moon is seen full face; in Type II it is in profile, as a crescent.-
- Trump XXI (le Monde): this is the most significant change. In Type I, a somewhat androgynous central figure is standing up on her/his two legs, dressed with a kind of ‘trunks’ made of tree leaves and wearing a cape, whereas in Type II she is
a young naked female, dancing, just dressed with a floating (red) scarf, her breast and hips are rounded, her left leg tucked up; she clearly is more ‘attractive’.-
- Lastly the Fool is called LE FOL in Type I, while in Type II he is called LE MAT.
To these I would add the fingers hanging down from the Hanged Man's shoulders in Type I. Also, on the II, the top figure on the Wheel has a tail most of the time; in the TdM1 it is all human, except for Payen. And since the Noblet has no 4, that is not a defining feature.

So now the Lombard. Besides the BM deck, I looked at the ones Sambei linked to at viewtopic.php?p=11215#p11215.

FOL. Like in TdMI. Puffed out trousers.
EMPEREVR. Wings on helmet. No 4.
PAPE. The three-barred cross, as in TdMII. An arm and hand reaching from left behind the acolyte.
AMOVREUX. Crash helmet, from right to left, but eyes open,
CHARIOT. Scalloped roof, as in TdMI. Horses look at each other.
JUSTICE. Wings, as in TdMI. Arm doesn't rest on scales.
RVOTA. Instead of descending, one animal (or person) is on ground. Most are tailless at top.
FORCE. Forepaws in air.
PENDV. As in TdMII, No fingers hanging down.
MORTE. No title on card, as in both TdMs. Heads are skulls.
DIABLE. No face in belly, as in TdMII. Devils bearded.
MAISONDIEV. flames toward sun or an arrow toward the tower.
LE.TOILLE. Same odd spelling as Dodal, invariably with a separation between LE and TOILLE. Other TdMIs have LESTOILLES, same as most TdMIIs.
LVNA. Moon faces us, as in TdMI. Black dog jumps.
SOLLE. Not a French word.
MONDE. Cape, as in TdMI.

Score: TdMI 5 or 6, TdMII 3, 10 features of neither, but which seem to have Italian sources. The arrow on the Maisondiev probably derives from the word "saetta". Horses looking at each other are found in tarocchino and minchiate. Wings on helmets in tarocchino (Queen of Batons, Chariot, World). A person lying down beneath the Wheel is seen in minchiate (although as a fourth person); in Bologna the fourth person is holding onto the wheel. The Ebreo devil card, which is probably Bolognese, shows a beard, as does the later standard Devil card. I don't know where the jumping dog, puffed out trousers, lion's forepaws, skulls come from, although common enough outside of tarot.

Some of these features are shared by Piedmontese cards, not surprisingly: puffed out pants on the Matto, cupid's eyes open but with crash helmet, horses looking at each other, no arm on scales, lion one forepaw up, bearded devil, lightning as an arrow, leaping black dog. The Piedmontese is more like the TdMI in having the TdMI's crozier staff (with a ball) on the Papa, the Hanged Man's fingers, and a face on the Devil's belly. Also, there are always three figures on the Wheel, as in both TdMs, and sometimes one horse looking away from the other. But the Piedmontese typically has the nude with a sash rather than a cape, as in the TdMII (sometimes on a globe), a blond head on Cupid, and the lightning going from sun to tower.

Hypothesis: many features of the Lombard and Piedmont types not derived from the Tarot de Marseille are derived from Bolognese card makers, drawing on the Bolognese tarocchino as well as the minchiates they produced for export to Florence. Other features come from imagery familiar at the time. Only the missing third figure on the Wheel is something I have not seen.