Tarot de Marseille by Francois Chosson

The unboxing of Tarot de Marseille by Francois Chosson 1736: A card-by-card feature by Tarot Zamm.

Limited edition 846/3000.

In April of 1736, Chosson of Marseille printed what was to later become the prototype for subsequent Tarot decks, including Nicolas Conver s woodblock deck, the model for most popular Tarot de Marseille decks enjoyed today. The original copy of this Chosson deck was sold to the Historical Museum Blumenstein in Solothurn, Switzerland.

Limited edition of 3000 copies of one of the oldest and most beautiful copies known of the Tarot said “ of Marseilles ”, realized in Marseilles in 1736 by François Chosson, master cardmaker and engraver of this city then renowned for its decks. This tarot is besides the second oldest Marseilles tarot known for its category, considered as benchmark model all over the world. Facsimile of the only known copy of this deck, preserved in the Historical Museum Blumenstein in Solothurn, wrapped in a reproduction of an original sheet of packing, and protected in a robust telescopic box.
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Product Details from Amazon.com
Hardcover – Tcr Crds L edition (February 27, 2014)
Publisher: U.S. Games Systems Inc.
Language: French
ISBN-10: 1572817836
ISBN-13: 978-1572817838
Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 3.1 x 1.8 inches


Here’s additional information for Tarot de Marseille by Francois Chosson from camoin.com.

Here we have the oldest Tarot de Marseille deck known to have been made in Marseilles.

The Tarot of François Chosson was officially classified by the historians as being of unknown origin. Thanks to documents belonging to my grandfather, I was able to demonstrate in 2001 at an American forum composed of the best historians of the Tarot that this was a deck made in Marseilles.

This was an important revelation because the date written on the Two of Coins was 1672, which made it the oldest Tarot de Marseille deck known to have been made in Marseilles. Continue reading here.


Amazon Review

Krystal Mystic 5.0 out of 5 stars
A High Quality Facsimile Reproduction

This deck is a facsimilie reproduction of a tarot de Marseilles originally printed in Marseilles, France by cardmaker François Chosson. The original deck is housed in the Historical Museum Blumenstein in Solothurn, Switzerland. Although the Two of Coins card lists a date that looks like 1672 for the publication of this deck, that date is questionable. Chosson was known to have worked in Marseilles from 1734 to 1756. Chosson possibly inherited or bought the engraved woodblocks for this deck from a previous cardmaker. According to the information card included with this tarot, Chosson registered the wrapping sheet for this deck on April 21, 1736, and that is the publication date attributed to this tarot. The identity of the actual engraver of the original 1672(?) woodblocks is still a bit of a mystery.

This facsimile reproduction is the work of Yves Reynaud and Wilfred Houdouin of Marseilles, France, who also produced the lovely Tarot de Marseille Pierre Madenié 1709. Like the Madenié, this 78-card deck is a limited edition of 3000 copies, and each deck is hand-numbered. The authors sponsor a website where images of both decks can be seen. (Google “tarot de Marseille heritage” and find the François Chosson link.) The cards come in a sturdy two-piece telescopic box that depicts La Force on the top and the Two of Coins on the bottom. Inside the box, the deck is enclosed in a reproduction of Chosson’s original wrapping sheet. Included are two information cards, one in English and one in French, with historical information about the deck as well as the deck’s hand-written copy number.

The cards measure approximately 4.8″ × 2.6″. The corners of the cards are squared, as in the original deck. The cardstock is very sturdy and was factory sprayed with a satin finish after printing instead of being laminated. The colors in the deck are very dark greens and blues, scarlet red (bright red with orange tones), yellow gold, faded remnants of a lighter blue, and some very ruddy peach tones that give some of the figures a sunburned look. The background on the cards varies from off white to ivory, but some cards show smudges of other colors that rubbed off onto the cards. The engravings are nicely detailed but not crisp (the woodblocks were probably a bit worn by the time Chosson acquired them). The details are sometimes obscured by the heavy coloring, which on some cards was not very skillfully applied. Despite its artistic shortcomings, Chosson’s deck is noteworthy as being a model in its details for later Marseilles tarots, including, most famously, Nicolas Conver’s Tarot de Marseilles.

My 5-star rating is based on the quality of this reproduction rather than the artistic merits of Chosson’s original deck. This is a deck that is a treasure for collectors but that may be less appealing to some tarot readers due to the hit-or-miss quality of the color stenciling (although some readers may find it charming in its imperfections). Definitely study the scans on the authors’ website if you’re thinking of purchasing this as a reading deck.