Help to Identify



I acquired these cards many years ago but have never established the age or maker or indeed whether this is a complete set or made up of mixed courts from different packs.

C. 1740 - 1790 ?


The pattern is the Lyon pattern from France which is indicated on the Knave of Clubs.

Lyon pattern


But who is the Maker?


The word 'BRUN" appears below the Knave of Spades but what does this refer to?  The King looks as though it may be from a different set as it appears slightly more refined in style and printing than some of the other cards.

Any thoughts?

If you have any thoughts on the Maker, pattern or age of these cards then please share them with me using the contact link below.

"Beatrice, or the Fracas" - England ?


One of the most artistic and imaginative transformation packs was published in London by Rudolph Ackermann and was titled "Pictorial Cards". The cards appeared in a monthly magazine called 'Repository of Arts, Literature, fashion etc'.  The cards appeared 4 at a time in plate form in the monthly magazines between January 1818 and January 1819. So far as we know the Ackermann cards were not issued in a playable form. The deck of 52 cards illustrated here has plain pip cards without transformation detail but the Aces and courts are all illustrated and hand coloured.The figures represent characters from ancient Rome, Greece and Asia Minor. The Spade courts and ace depict scenes from the Viennese story of 'Beatrice'. 

The same "Beatrice" designs were published by H F Muller in Vienna, but the cards were made with different plates. The face cards of the English pack have full backgrounds, whereas those of the Viennese pack are merely figures with no background. Other known versions known include: a French edition of the "Beatrice" published in Paris by Gide Fils, rue St Marc No. 20. The designs are the same but the plates are new and the court cards are like the Viennese version without backgrounds and a version by C. Bartlett in New York City c.1833. The Bartlett deck was published as "Pictorial Playing Cards" and the court cards included full backgrounds presumably copied from the Ackermann design. The Bartlett cards can normally be easily distinguished from the English version as the cards are coloured very crudely with garish blocks of colour that detracts from the beauty of the designs. In all four versions i.e. Ackermann, Muller, Gide and Bartlett the pip cards have all got transformation designs whereas in this deck all pip cards are standard and presumably more playable.

So is this deck a playable English deck by Ackermann or Bartlett or another previously unrecorded version by an anonymous publisher?

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