Kings: With the exception of the
elegant deck, all
kings are seated on a throne underneath a stone arch. The tarot kings
have a different style of arch from the rest, otherwise the style is
similar across the decks. In the
elegant deck only the tops of
the cards are preserved. Here there are no arches, but the size of the
heads in relation to the knaves suggests that the kings must be seated.
A very narrow strip remaining of the right edge of one of the cards is
consistent with thrones very similar to those in the other decks.
crude deck, the kings of swords and cups are inferior
mirror-image copies of the Fournier cards. The remaining two are in a
very similar style, but the king of coins' pose is more similar to its
counterpart in the tarot deck. The
reversed deck is even cruder
in this instance. Here a queen takes the place of
the king of cups, but has the same rank unlike in tarot
Knights: Here the variation is much greater. Most decks
have mounts seen from the sides, and the heads of both rider and mount
is sometimes in profile but more often turned towards the viewer. In the
Fournier cards and to a lesser degree the
elegant deck the mounts
are seen diagonally so that they appear shorter, and there is more room
for their heads. Only the tarots have the normal grassy ground
underneath. In the
elegant deck it is more elaborate, in the
crude decks there are various other surfaces,
and in the otherwise elaborate Fournier cards, the mounts seem to be
floating in the air.
In the tarot, the mounts in cups and batons have monstrous heads. No
clear suit sign is present in the batons; it is only identifiable
because the three other knights have clear suit signs. Its design is
also atypical in that the rider faces away from the viewer. The
crude deck has an identical knights of batons, while the three
other knights are identical to those in the
reversed deck (which
has mirror-images in cups and swords). In coins and batons, the mounts
are giant birds, possibly ostriches. Neither of these two decks have
clear suit signs in batons and cups. One is identified as the knights of
batons through the tarot as described above, the other one from the
crude deck and the identical one from the
must then both be the knight of cups, and the final and unique one from
reversed deck must for the same reason be the knight of
batons. This card has a human-headed mount, the body might possibly be
that of a tiger.
Knaves: The knaves are merely standing on the ground, holding their respective suit symbol. The ground is depicted as in the knights, except that three of the Fournier knaves have a simple line suggesting the horizon.
The knave of cups in the
crude deck is a copy of the tarot
card. The tarot coins and
reversed deck cups are female but have
no other similarities. Beyond a similar pose in coins, the
reversed decks which have three knights in common are no
closer to each other than to the other decks. Like in the tarot knight
of coins, the suit symbol appears twice in the Fournier knave of coins;
elegant deck it appears thrice.
Aces: The non-tarot decks all have aces in a style similar
to Tarot de Marseille and North Italian playing cards. The
reverded deck have three slightly inferior reversed copies of the
Fournier cards. The ace of coins is different, more similar to the
crude deck, which in general has somewhat simpler designs. The
elegant deck has entirely different designs in the same general
style. The ace of swords from this deck is very similar to that in Tarot
de Marseille, and would with the crown around the blade nicely
complement the numeral cards of the tarot, the fournier and the
However, the two extant tarot aces have entirely unrelated designs,
of which I know no close parallels. The ace of swords depicts a lion
sitting on a grassy surface holding a curved scimitar, similar to that
in the Fournier,
crude decks, while the baton
is held by a leopard. As the suit symbols of the two lacking aces are
less suitable for holding than a sword or a baton, it is unclear if or
how they would be held, as well as which animals they appeared with.
The same general idea is also found in the Tarot de Paris aces, where heraldic animals hold banners with the suit symbols.
Numerals: Some decks have direct copies of the same design, while others have similar designs in the same general style. Numerals of each suit is described separately below.
Swords: These are fairly well preserved in the tarot,
crude decks. The Fournier cards are copies of the
tarot design, only with the edges slightly trimmed in order to fit on
the narrower cards. The
crude deck has a cruder design, differing
chiefly in that the swords in the former two pass through an elaborate
crown, while in the latter one they are instead tied together by a strip
The layout of these cards in the main feature separating the
Italian, Portuguese and Spanish playing card
styles. These decks do not correspond to either of those, but might be
seen as intermediate between the first two.
Batons: These are very well preserved in the tarot,
crude decks. The Fournier cards are
here not copies of the tarot cards, but have a slightly cruder design.
reversed deck has mirror-image copies of these, while the
crude deck again has a yet cruder design.
The shape of the batons is that used in
Italian style cards,
differing from those found in Portuguese and Spanish ones.
All cards have their value spelled out in Italian on a central banner
(even this text is reversed in the
reversed deck). A more detailed analysis of these legends is
Cups: These are well preserved in the
crude decks, and partially in the Fournier cards. The designs
are all different, with the Fournier cards slightly cruder than the
elegant deck, and the
crude deck markedly cruder that the
Coins: These are very well preserved in the
deck and partially in the Fournier deck. Again, the
has a markedly cruder design.