c.1911 Tarot de la Reyne
Incomplete 80/120 cards, no booklet (electronic copy available)
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Deck: Tarot de la Reyne
Designed by "Nostradamus"
Published by Eugène Figuière & Cie, Paris, c.1911
Illustrated by H. Steimer (Henry)
Booklet Title (not present): Le Tarot de la Reyne. Histoire de Catherine de Médicis suivie des Sept Pensées de Nostradamus. (An electronic version can be provided)
Foreword by Maurice Lanra
Booklet by Madame de Maguelone
Description: This is an incredibly scarce deck with a unique design. The original deck consisted of a total of 120 cards, the example for sale is missing 40. The cards were illustrated by Henry Steimer. "Steimer was an early French comic artist. He appeared in numerous publications of the 1910s and 1920s," including illustrations for the 1904 French edition of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel, Uncle Bernac, published as Le Roman d'une jeune fille. The booklet originally accompanying the deck has a foreword by Maurice Lanra. On the front of the booklet, the name "Maguelone" is found at the very top.
Excerpts of the booklet (including the first and second parts) were published in issues of "La Vie Mysterieuse," a bi-monthly French review, between June 10 1909 and September 10 1911. In the review, the text is attributed to Madame de Maguelone, who is said to have found, reordered and translated Nostradamus' documents into contemporary French. "Le Tarot de la Reyne, mis en lumière par Nostradamus, astrologue et nécromant, à l'usance de la tant renommée et verteuse Catherine de Médicis, reyne de France, en l'an de grâce 1556; documents retrouvés et mis en ordre par Mme de Maguelone."
The booklet attributes the design of the 120 card tarot deck to Nostradamus himself (see French passage below). The first 70 cards are described as the major arcana, each representing a stage in the life of Catherine de Médicis, ending with #70 La Mort (the Death card). The remaining 50 cards (the minors) are divided into seven septenaries/suits (49 cards), with #120 marked as "La Consultation" card depicting Nostradamus as "Le Consultant" and Médicis as the "La Consultante."
Maguelone writes that each septenary or suit is organized around one of "Les Sept Pensées de Nostradamus:" la Terre, le Temps, le Ciel, la Conscience (L'Oeil), le Mystère (Sphinx), la Fatalité (Fatum), la Justice (Main). Each of the seven sets is comprised of a King, a Queen, two cards named after a celestial body/event or an ancient god (sometimes both), as well three cards numbered 1 to 3 in each "suit." (e.g. #78 Le Roi de Temps, #79 La Reine de Temps, #80 Le Temps de Saturne, #81 Le Temps de Cybèle, #82 Le Un de Temps, #83 Le Deux de Temps,
# 84 Le Trois de Temps).
· Borders: Four frames of thin black lines, with Nostradamus portrait at top and Catherine de Médicis at the bottom, a snake frames both sides.
· Reverses: intricate circle and "cross"/"petal" pattern in two different shades of purple.
· Paper: Thick raw cardstock
· Titles: French. Title of the card on each side vertically, and meaning of right and reverse on top and bottom with Arabic numerals in four corners.
· Style: Tarot de la Reyne, alchemical, originally with 120 cards.
· Tax Stamp: No tax stamp on cards
The cards are in very good condition, with few issues besides the missing cards. Incomplete, missing 40 cards in total. There is some minor age discoloration and a few stains, along with scuffs (with some minor losses to images from peeling/sticking). There is also some edge and corner wear. Please see pictures for full details. Reverses with some fading and foxing, as well as age discoloration along edges. Card #1 with notations in black ink. Missing cards: 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 17, 19, 20, 27, 32, 37, 42, 44, 45, 46, 52, 58, 60, 66, 71, 73, 74, 75, 86, 90, 94, 95, 98, 102, 103, 104, 107, 110, 111, 113, 115, 116, 118.
The last part of the original booklet is titled, "Les Sept Pensées de Nostradamus," the first paragraph reads:
“Nous avons dit, tout au début de la deuxième partie de cet ouvrage, que Nostradamus avait divisé le Tarot de la Reyne en arcanes majeurs et en arcanes mineurs. Les arcanes majeurs devaient s’adapter autant que le sujet pouvait le lui permettre, à une des années que devait vivre son héroïne. Par contre, les arcanes mineurs devaient constituer, dans son esprit comme une espèce de kaléïdoscope mental à travers lequel il se proposait de faire défiler, en synthèse, sous l’œil curieux et attendri du philosophe, les plus hautes spéculations de la pensée humaine, dans les sept tableaux suivants: la Terre, le Temps, le Ciel, la Conscience, le Mystère, la Fatalité, la Justice.” Les Sept Pensées de Nostradamus, Avant-Propos.
Loose English translation:
“We said, at the very beginning of the second part of this work, that Nostradamus had divided the Tarot de la Reyne into major arcana and minor arcana. The Major Arcana had to adapt as much as the subject could allow it, to one of the years that his heroine was alive. On the other hand, the minor arcana was to constitute, in his mind like a kind of mental kaleidoscope through which he proposed to scroll, in synthesis, under the curious and tender eye of the philosopher, the highest speculations of human thought, in the following seven tableaus: Earth, Time, Heaven, Consciousness, Mystery, Fatality, Justice. ” The Seven Thoughts of Nostradamus, Foreword.